‘This is a moral moment’: Round Rock lawmaker pushes state on transparency, funding for nursing homes

Nursing Home Investigations

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A Round Rock lawmaker sent a letter to Governor Abbott, calling for more transparency on the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities and more protections for the residents and staff inside.

More than 60 Republican and Democratic state representatives have signed on to the letter, demanding more funding and testing in nursing home facilities, state supported living centers, state hospitals, and group homes.

Representative James Talarico said the request comes after 50 of his constituents tested positive in a Round Rock nursing home.

In a press release, he said, “This pandemic has exposed the neglect of our state’s most vulnerable populations, in particular our long-term care facilities.”

MORE: Williamson Co. confirms 50 COVID-19 cases at Round Rock senior facility, family of hospitalized resident speaks out

He went on, “For years, our state has failed to prioritize elderly Texans and Texans with disabilities. Now these facilities are the epicenters of the pandemic. We must protect our most vulnerable neighbors. This is a moral moment for our state.”

The letter outlines three specific requests:

  • Immediate funding through an emergency Texas Medicaid rate increase to help cover costs for staff wages and PPE
  • Greater transparency in the reporting of COVID-19 deaths and cases in these facilities
  • Mandatory available COVID-19 testing for every employee and resident

The chairs of both the Republican and Democratic Caucus in the Texas House signed on the letter.

“You have far left progressives on the letter and far right conservatives on the letter, because this is not a partisan moment, it’s a moral moment,” Rep. Talarico said.

These demands come just a day after another letter from Travis County lawmakers, with similar concerns about residents in these facilities.

MORE: In letter to Governor, Travis County lawmakers demand more testing, staffing, PPE for nursing homes

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