AUSTIN, TX. –The Texas Assisted Living Association (TALA) is celebrating approval of legislation which updates state law and streamlines the regulatory process for the state’s assisted living providers.
“Assisted living providers in Texas showed that unity, clarity of purpose and commitment to quality services translates into concrete results for our industry and the seniors we serve,’’ said Gail Harmon, executive director of TALA, the Texas chapter of the Assisted Living Federation of America (www.alfa.org), the nation’s leading association for professionally managed assisted living providers. “We have created a strong foundation for the future with new relationships and solid achievements in our first year as a chapter of ALFA.’’
The growth of the assisted living industry, the fastest growing long term care option in the United States, has frequently outpaced state laws and regulations. Under the guidance of TALA lobbyist Jim Hine and with the support of Houston lawmaker Garnet Coleman, the organization secured two important legal changes which will help providers more easily comply with state regulations and maintain high life safety standards.
The first change will allow publicly traded companies to provide one corporate office contact to the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), the state agency which regulates the industry. In the past, the law required all companies to provide the name and personal address of every individual with an ownership interest, a significant burden for large concerns which trade stock in public markets.
The second change speeds up the life safety inspection process for new assisted living communities by issuing provisional licenses so long as the provider complies with other life safety requirements, such as local fire codes, and pays the fee for an expedited inspection. In this way, providers can open up more space for seniors who need assisted living services in a timely fashion.
“These common sense adjustments to the law will help assisted living communities fully comply with state laws and regulations so they can focus on the mission of caring for frail seniors,‘’ said Harmon. “We are grateful to all of the officials who worked with us to make changes beneficial to the senior care industry.’’
Assisted living communities provide help with the activities of daily life for frail seniors in a residential setting. The industry has become enormously popular with seniors and their families because its philosophy of care puts the consumer first and creates an environment that allows seniors to age with independence, dignity and grace.
TALA’s lobbyist Jim Hine worked closely with state regulators and forged a key alliance on several issues with nursing home providers in TALA’s first year as an official chapter ALFA, the national assisted living association.
TALA was also able to head off potentially damaging legal changes by bringing information on unintended consequences to the attention of lawmakers.
These bills included:
The Texas Assisted Living Association was created to establish a forum to educate policy makers and the public about the benefits of assisted living. Its members embrace a philosophy of cost-effective, safe, personalized and quality care for residents in a way which fosters independence, individuality, choice and privacy. For more information go to www.tala.org.
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