Tribpedia: Aging And Disability Services

Tribpedia

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services administers long-term care and services for people who have cognitive and physical disabilities. The agency licenses and regulates providers of these services, and runs the state's guardianship program. It also oversees the state's 13 supported living centers - institutions for people with profound disabilities that have come under fire by the ...

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"3-Strikes" Plan Spurs Nursing Home Regulation Debate

A patient at Sagebrook Health Center, a nursing facility in Cedar Park, kneads putty to build fine-motor coordination and dexterity. Officials from Sagebrook and other facilities have raised concerns about a proposed rule that would have the state close nursing homes found to have the highest-level violations of federal quality standards on three separate days over 24 months.
A patient at Sagebrook Health Center, a nursing facility in Cedar Park, kneads putty to build fine-motor coordination and dexterity. Officials from Sagebrook and other facilities have raised concerns about a proposed rule that would have the state close nursing homes found to have the highest-level violations of federal quality standards on three separate days over 24 months.

Legislators in 2015 are poised to take up a proposal that would have the state close nursing homes that rack up high-level federal violations on three separate days over 24 months. Supporters say the plan provides needed protection for the state's seniors, but the nursing home industry says it is already heavily regulated.

Disabled residents shred paper at the Mexia State Supported Living Center.
Disabled residents shred paper at the Mexia State Supported Living Center.

Lawmakers Consider Closing Institutions for Disabled

Lawmakers considered a proposal to shutter six of Texas’ 13 state-supported living centers over two days of public hearings, renewing a long-simmering debate over the future of the state’s institutions for the disabled. The Sunset Advisory Commission staff recommended shutting one center right away, followed by five more over several years.

Forensic chemist Rusty White completes a workout during a cross-training class at the DPS office in Austin on May 14, 2014.
Forensic chemist Rusty White completes a workout during a cross-training class at the DPS office in Austin on May 14, 2014.

Law Helps State Workers Find Time for Fitness

Since the passage of a 2007 law allowing state employees a 30-minute exercise break three times per week, several state agencies have begun offering popular lunchtime workout programs, like weight training and Zumba.

People with disabilities rally at Texas Capitol opposing budget cuts to home and community-based services. March 1st, 2011
People with disabilities rally at Texas Capitol opposing budget cuts to home and community-based services. March 1st, 2011

Disability Rights Groups Call for More Community Care

Disability rights advocates encouraged state legislators to expand community-based care and in-home nursing at a Tuesday Senate hearing. They also raised questions about a new computer-based program to track care services.

Interactive: Texas Budget Cuts Shrink State Government

With the state government tightening its belt, there are now 10,200 fewer state employees, according to an analysis of data collected by the state auditor’s office. This interactive shows how budget cuts have affected employment at state-funded entities from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 to the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

Perry Downplayed Allegations at Centers for Disabled

Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential bid hinges on the message that states perform best when left alone, free of federal bureaucrats. Yet Perry and his staff repeatedly downplayed the severity of mistreatment at Texas’ state-run institutions for the disabled — until conditions became so dire that federal authorities intervened. 

Grant Seeks to Reduce Restraints in Treatment Centers

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Responding to cases of abuse and even death in Texas' residential treatment centers — some the result of staffers physically restraining kids with emotional disabilities — a mental health organization is funding a program to better train direct-care workers.

Milla and her mother, Cassie, do stretching exercises on the living room floor.
Milla and her mother, Cassie, do stretching exercises on the living room floor.

Thousands of Disabled Texans Face Service Cuts

Specialty services for thousands of Texans with disabilities are on the chopping block, yet another casualty of the significant budget cuts state lawmakers passed in May. Starting Dec. 1, as many as 12,000 people receiving care outside of nursing homes or institutions could see reductions in programs that provide everything from speech therapy to home modifications. 

More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.
More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.

Elderly, Disabled Fight Pay Cut to Service Providers

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Advocates for the elderly and disabled are fighting a proposal in the Legislature that they say would reduce the wages of the personal care attendants who provide services through the Medicaid Community-Based Alternatives waiver program. While the proposal was cut out of one bill Tuesday, the same language exists in a number of other bills, including the Senate version of the budget. 

Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays with resident Rebecca Hadnot.
Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays with resident Rebecca Hadnot.

LBB to State: Improve Disability Care, Close 1 Facility

The way Texas is currently providing care for people with disabilities — keeping all its state institutions in operation, despite increasing demand for community-based care — is not cost effective, and should be changed, according to an analysis released by the Legislative Budget Board on Wednesday. 

Health care assistant Crystal Kreig plays a card game with Steve Parker (center) and Eulalio Alvarada (right) at a group home operated by D&S Residential, Inc. Companies like D&S used to handle case management for their clients, but a budget change sent that responsibility to local Mental Retardation Authorities.
Health care assistant Crystal Kreig plays a card game with Steve Parker (center) and Eulalio Alvarada (right) at a group home operated by D&S Residential, Inc. Companies like D&S used to handle case management for their clients, but a budget change sent that responsibility to local Mental Retardation Authorities.

Private Providers Fight Back Over Service Change

For years, the state paid private providers who care for people with disabilities to handle their clients’ case management. But an 11th-hour change inserted into the budget last session stripped them of that responsibility, giving it instead to quasi-governmental Mental Retardation Authorities — and potentially creating a conflict of interest.

After Monitor Departs, A Teenager Is Killed

The same Houston-area residential treatment center where staffers forced disabled girls to fight each other — prompting child welfare officials to halt admissions and hire a safety monitor — is now under fire for the asphyxiation of a 16-year-old boy who died Friday after a restraint was applied by a staffer in a closet.

State Schools for the Disabled Could Face Budget Ax

A barrage of abuse scandals, a federal investigation and the shrinking state budget could be just what disability advocates need to achieve a longtime goal: fewer state institutions and more community-based living services for developmentally disabled Texans who can’t care for themselves.

Barbara Cullison does her daughter Audrey's hair. Audrey, who is autistic, risks losing her Medicaid waiver services because of state budget cuts.
Barbara Cullison does her daughter Audrey's hair. Audrey, who is autistic, risks losing her Medicaid waiver services because of state budget cuts.

Budget Shortfall Forces Big Cuts for Disabled

Advocates say the Department of Aging and Disability Services’ baseline budget request eliminates financing for more than 13,000 people — the majority waiting to receive Medicaid waiver services. Agency officials will only say that an “unknown number” of people already receiving the services could lose them. It's unclear if lawmakers can make these cuts without risking losing federal funding; federal health care reform requires states to maintain coverage at the same level it was when the Affordable Care Act became law in March.

Clay Boatright, the new president of the Arc of Texas
Clay Boatright, the new president of the Arc of Texas

An Interview with Arc of Texas President Clay Boatright

The new president of the Arc of Texas on why the disability community’s rallying cry to close state-supported living centers has become trite and ineffective, why the movement's messaging should be upgraded (employing everything from the iPad to the Bible) and why businesses and faith-based groups should be mobilized to fill the gaping holes in government services.

Scherry Levi with her mentally disabled nephew Deartis Preston in Preston's home in Bay City.
Scherry Levi with her mentally disabled nephew Deartis Preston in Preston's home in Bay City.

Families Lose Estates In Guardianship Battles

In the last year, Texas probate courts approved more than $6 million in payments from private estates to court-appointed attorneys, guardians and physicians, in many cases depleting funds left to care for incapacitated people. Critics say the practice amounts to destroying the village in order to save it. Probate judges say they're simply making sure people who can't defend themselves have proper representation.