The Texas Department of Human Services has been renamed Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).
DADS has developed a new Quality Reporting System. “The purpose of the Quality Reporting System (QRS) is to provide information to the public on the quality of services provided at individual nursing facilities in Texas.” The web site for QRS is:
Note that this address does not start with www.
There are many Web sites that can give you valuable information. The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging has a web site that is very informative. The chairman, Senator Gordon Smith, has hearings, announcements and other information that is helpful at http://aging.senate.gov/ (no www)
Below we have attempted to give a brief description of the content and value of some other Web sites that are the most useful and most relevant to the care of nursing home RESIDENTS.
Department of Aging and Disability Services
DADS is the agency charged with gathering and providing information about nursing home care and practices. Their web site gives you important information about who to contact about numerous problems. If you want help dealing with nursing homes and agencies, call us at (972)572-6330 or toll free at (888)TANHR4U [(888)826-4748].
Texas Department on Aging
This department is in charge of the ombudsman program. Their web site
can connect you with other information about agency missions and some useful contact information.
Health Information You can get information on many health conditions, health organizations and links to other helpful sites at www.healthfinder.org. AARP Webplace has several health publications on its site. You can find them at www.aaarp.org/answers.html.
USEFUL WEB SITES
Department of Human Services
Texas State Senate
Texas House of Representatives
Texas Department on Aging
Texas Attorney General
Office of Secretary of State
Long Term Care Quality Reporting System
Texas Health and Human Services
Texas Department of Health
Texas Legislature on line
Texas Ethics Commission
Texas Administrative Code
U.S. House of Representatives
You can get much information from this site.
Click on “Thomas” to find a bill or law.
If you don’t know the bill number, insert words
“nursing home” and you will be given a list.
National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) This organization maintains a clearinghouse of information on a wide variety of topics specifically related to institutional long-term care, including alternatives to nursing home care, resident care, nurse staffing, Medicaid discrimination, reimbursement, resident rights, and mental health. 1424 16th Street NW Suite 202, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202)332-2275, Fax: (202)332-2949.
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) This organization is a non-profit information and advocacy organization for nursing home residents, their families and their friends. Services they announce are: consumer information services, legal information network, legal services support, lawyer referral service, legislative and administrative advocacy support, family council organizing. 1610 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94109, (800)474-1116 (consumers only please), or (415)474-5171.
FAQ’s (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
How do I choose a nursing home?
º Before you look - Ask your doctor what kind of care is needed for your loved one or friend. Ask for recommendations from friends, physicians, clergy, hospital or social workers.
º Call ahead - Call the facility and make an appointment to tour the facility. You may ask if the home is licensed by the state, if it is Medicare and Medicaid approved, and if they can give the care needed by your loved one.
º On the tour observe the general appearance inside and outside. Ask for a thorough tour that includes: the kitchen (new or well-maintained equipment, surfaces, etc.), the laundry (clean, neat, roomy), shower rooms, community rooms or lounge areas. Use your nose. There are incontinent residents there and you’ll smell occasional odors, but if there is a general stale smell of urine and it remains on follow-up visits, cross that home off your list.
º Staff concerns - Watch non-verbal behavior and listen to how staff members treat residents and each other. Are they professional and respectful, and are they pleasant with you?
º Financial considerations - Ask about the methods of payment: private-pay, Medicaid (and Medicare when appropriate). What services are covered in the basic charges, and what are the fees for additional services and supplies? Ask for a list of the charges. Be sure you understand all financial arrangements before you sign a contract.
º For more information - call TANHR (888)TANHR4U [(888)826-4748] or (972)572-6330.
How should I handle a complaint? For problems with resident care first go to the nursing supervisor or the director of nurses, and if the problem persists go to the administrator. If you need additional assistance:
º Call TANHR at (888)TANHR4U [(888)826-4748] or (972)572-6330
º Call DADS at (800)458-9858
º For a free copy of information about choosing a nursing home call the Medicare hotline at (800)638-6833 or go to the CMS Web site (listed below) for that information.
The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is the agency charged with gathering and providing information about nursing home care and practices.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS — formerly HCFA).
CMS is the federal agency that administers the Medicare, Medicaid, and Child Health insurance programs.
Its web site is:
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS: TEXAS ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS
- Aging, Texas Department on (512) 424/6840
- Attorney General (512) 463-2100
- Complaints & information (DHS) (800) 458-9858
- DADS (512) 438-3011
- Governor (512) 463-2000
- Health and Human Services Commission (512) 424-6500
- Health, Texas Department of (512) 458-7111
- Lieutenant Governor (512) 463-0001
- Nurse Examiners, Board of (512) 305-7400