On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Buckner International teamed up with LeadingAge Texas, the membership association of nonprofit senior living communities, to advocate at the Texas Capitol for nonprofit senior living services.
Buckner leaders from Dallas, San Angelo, Austin and Washington D.C. were able to visit with key senators and representatives who represent areas Buckner serves. Buckner also arranged for a special meeting with First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott who has experience in prior careers serving seniors and still volunteers to serve meals to needy seniors each week.
This particular trip to the Capitol was especially enjoyable as attendees were able to express gratitude to legislators for the increase in Medicaid rates for nursing homes in the legislature’s base budget bill, which is the starting point for budget negotiations in the legislature. The rate had not been increased since 2014, despite labor and other costs to care for seniors skyrocketing. The base bill also increases funding for nurse education programs to help with the shortage of nurses in our state.
Besides thanking the legislature for these early wins, Buckner advocates were also able to describe the Buckner difference in senior living. Our senior living communities are full of passionate men and women who view their positions as a calling. Our staff members are motivated to serve senior adults with dedication and excellence because they see the job as part of a greater mission. We never lose sight of our true objective – inspiring happiness.
We also advocated for the following priorities:
- House Bill 104by Representative Klick, which would create a student loan repayment assistance program for nurses that commit to working in nursing homes.
• Senate Bill 244 by Senator Kolkhorst and House Bill 904 by Rep. Klick which would reform and extend Texas’ existing nursing education programs to help build and adequate pipeline of nurses.
• House Bill 1483 by Representative Frank that would promote financial transparency and help ease the regulatory burden placed on providers by state agencies.
• Legislation that would protect nonprofit senior housing providers and retirement communities that provide a certain amount of charity care from property tax.
Buckner made a strong case for these priorities and legislators on both sides of the aisle expressed support for our work and priorities on behalf of senior adults.
But our work is not done. There are many competing priorities for the legislature to consider, such as education, health care, infrastructure and the border. Through our Government Relations team, Buckner will have a consistent presence at the Capitol this session to ensure the best interests of senior adults are properly considered and met.
Find out who represents you in the Texas Capitol and let them know that you stand with Buckner and our legislative priorities for children, youth, families and seniors!