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‘Granny Tax’ Bill puts local nursing home residents at risk

Editorial by Ron Jennette, President & CEO of Crestview/Arbor Oaks and Methodist Retirement Communities

 

This year, I had the opportunity to witness first hand Governor Greg Abbott’s State of the State Address. In listening to his vision, there were a number of commitments that stood out to all of us proud Texans. One particular statement I heard loud and clear was, “…the only good tax is a dead tax”, which is why I was so surprised to learn legislation has been filed to tax a most vulnerable group of elderly residents residing in Texas nursing homes.

During my 23 years in senior living, I have seen many attempts that avoid getting at the heart of the problem, which is adequately funding nursing homes for the cost of providing quality care and services to those in need. But that’s not a good reason for the misguided proposals that seem to find their way into the halls of the Texas Capitol.

Labeled “the granny tax”, Senate Bill 1130 and House Bill 2766 would generate state revenue by taxing every nursing home resident in the state. Nursing home residents who pay for their own care would now have to carry a tax bill of over $4,000 per year, pushing the private pay residents ever closer to becoming Medicaid recipients. Oh, the legislation does try and pretend the tax won’t be passed on to the resident; but that only adds a layer of absurdity to this proposal. Every organization must cover its costs to remain afloat.

Recently working with its sole member, Methodist Retirement Communities (MRC), to redevelop for long-term viability in Bryan, Crestview/Arbor Oaks has proudly served residents of Bryan and College Station since the early 1960s. Having a stellar reputation for quality care and compassionate staff, Crestview is the only CMS 5-star rated community in the area. As a faith-based, non-profit that is committed to serving with integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence, MRC now has another senior living community under construction to serve the great people in this area. This new one is called The Langford, and is located next to Christ United Methodist Church off Hwy 6. Doors will open the first half of 2018.

If Texas is going to treat our most vulnerable seniors with respect and dignity as we seek to do at Crestview, I believe our legislators need to support quality of care funding solutions that are shared rather than target those who are already frail and aging. In recent years, I have been very encouraged to hear our Senator Charles Schwertner speak to the importance of quality in nursing homes, and I applaud his dedication. It is unfortunate that some legislators would seek to threaten quality care by imposing yet another tax, this time on the most vulnerable in our society.

 

Ron Jennette is President & CEO of Crestview/Arbor Oaks and Methodist Retirement Communities.