Texas governor Greg Abbott
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After calling on state lawmakers to invest $400 million and help long-term care address critical workforce shortages, Texas providers are closer to receiving their wish after a critical funding bill was approved by the state Legislature. 

“With all of the priorities the Legislature had to consider regarding how to spend these funds, we’re very appreciative they recognized caring for the elderly of Texas as a priority for inclusion,” Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, said in a statement Tuesday. 

Warren’s comments came right after Texas lawmakers approved a one-time appropriations measure, Senate Bill 8, late Monday, just before adjourning their third special legislative session. The legislation was still waiting for final approval from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as of production deadline. 

The measure allocates nearly $400 million in grant funding — $200 million for nursing homes and $178.3 million for assisted living facilities and home health agencies — to help with staffing needs. 

The Texas Health Care Association and LeadingAge Texas sent a letter to lawmakers in mid-September asking them to invest $400 million to support efforts to recruit and retain more staff at long-term care facilities. 

Operators also warned that recent surveys showed 70% of long-term care facilities reported they were unable to hire enough staff, while 30% said they had restricted new admissions due to staffing shortages. 

Warren said providers are going to use the money for things like recruitment and retention bonuses, hero pay and other incentives so they can compete in “hyper-competitive markets.” 

“While there is still more work to be done, this much needed investment will help the profession’s staffing efforts, and for that we are very grateful,” he added.