Bryan nursing home CEO speaks out against 'Granny Tax' bill

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) A bill taxing nursing homes has been introduced in the Texas House and Senate.

Senate Bill 1130 and House Bill 2766 work to create a Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance, otherwise known as "the granny tax." The bills would generate revenue by taxing each nursing home in Texas. The CEO of Crestview in Bryan says that individuals who pay for their own nursing home care could pay up to $4000 more per year.

Ron Jennette is President and CEO of Methodist Retirement Communities. His company owns Crestview Retirement Community in Bryan. Jennette said he worries about how the bills could affect his retirement communities.

"To Crestview specifically, it would add almost $200,000 per year. Our concern is there are no guarantees in the bill, and there can be no guarantees in the bill that we will get all of that money back," said Jennette.

"I am very concerned that this bill has gotten this far, and that they haven't researched it better to see what exactly it will do," said Anne Hazen, Crestview resident.

Supporters of the tax argue nursing homes that collect Medicare are often underfunded. Jennette said while he doesn't disagree, he believes these bills are not the best way to solve that problem.

"There's really only two ways you can deal with that. One is you have to charge more money. That means more people end up on Medicaid, and that's not good for the system either. The second is you reduce cost. We're a non-profit, faith based, mission-oriented organization, who is very proud of our heritage, and that does not include cutting back on staff," said Jennette.

Update: Members from the Texas Healthcare Association say that if put into effect, this tax could not be directly imposed on nursing home residents. They say that the bill directly states:

"A facility may not list the reinvestment allowance as a separate charge on a resident's billing statement or otherwise directly or indirectly attempt to charge the reinvestment allowance to a resident."

If you would like to view the bills, you can visit the links in the Related Links section of this webpage.