S.B. No. 131
  relating to the creation of nursing home family councils.
         SECTION 1.  Subsection (b), Section 242.044, Health and
  Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  For at least two unannounced inspections each licensing
  period of an institution other than one that provides maternity
  care, the department shall invite at least one person as a citizen
  advocate from:
               (1)  the American Association of Retired Persons;
               (2)  the Texas Senior Citizen Association;
               (3)  the Texas Retired Federal Employees;
               (4)  the department's [Texas Department on Aging]
  Certified Long Term Care Ombudsman; or
               (5)  another statewide organization for the elderly.
         SECTION 2.  Section 242.0445, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  Not later than the fifth working day after the date
  the facility receives the final statement of violations under this
  section, the facility shall provide a copy of the statement to a
  representative of the facility's family council.
         SECTION 3.  Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, is amended
  by adding Subchapter S to read as follows:
         Sec. 242.901.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Department" means the Department of Aging and
  Disability Services.
               (2)  "Executive commissioner" means the executive
  commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission.
               (3)  "Family council" means a group of family members,
  friends, or legal guardians of residents, who organize and meet
  privately or openly.
         Sec. 242.902.  FAMILY COUNCIL. A family council may:
               (1)  make recommendations to the institution proposing
  policy and operational decisions affecting resident care and
  quality of life; and
               (2)  promote educational programs and projects that
  will promote the health and happiness of residents.
         Sec. 242.903.  DUTIES OF INSTITUTION. (a)  An institution
  shall consider the views and recommendations of the family council
  and make a reasonable effort to resolve the council's grievances.
         (b)  An institution may not:
               (1)  prohibit the formation of a family council;
               (2)  terminate an existing family council;
               (3)  deny a family council the opportunity to accept
  help from an outside person;
               (4)  limit the rights of a resident, family member, or
  family council member to meet with an outside person, including:
                     (A)  an employee of the institution during
  nonworking hours if the employee agrees; and
                     (B)  a member of a nonprofit or government
               (5)  prevent or interfere with the family council
  receiving outside correspondence addressed to the council;
               (6)  open family council mail; or
               (7)  wilfully interfere with the formation,
  maintenance, or operation of a family council, including
  interfering by:
                     (A)  discriminating or retaliating against a
  family council participant; and
                     (B)  wilfully scheduling events in conflict with
  previously scheduled family council meetings if the institution has
  other scheduling options.
         (c)  On admission of a resident, an institution shall inform
  the resident's family members in writing of:
               (1)  the family members' right to form a family council;
               (2)  if a family council already exists, the council's:
                     (A)  meeting time, date, and location; and
                     (B)  contact person.
         (d)  An institution shall:
               (1)  include notice of a family council in a mailing
  that occurs at least semiannually;
               (2)  permit a representative of a family council to
  discuss concerns with an individual conducting an inspection or
  survey of the facility;
               (3)  provide a family council with adequate space on a
  prominent bulletin board to post notices and other information;
               (4)  provide a designated staff person to act as
  liaison for a family council; and
               (5)  respond in writing to a written request by a family
  council within five working days.
         Sec. 242.904.  MEETINGS. (a)  On written request, an
  institution shall allow a family council to meet in a common meeting
  room of the institution at least once a month during hours mutually
  agreed upon by the family council and the institution.
         (b)  Institution employees or visitors may attend a family
  council meeting only at the council's invitation.
         Sec. 242.905.  VISITING. A family council member may
  authorize in writing another member to visit and observe a resident
  represented by the authorizing member unless the resident objects.
         Sec. 242.906.  ADMINISTRATION; RULES. (a)  The department
  shall administer this subchapter.
         (b)  The executive commissioner shall adopt rules necessary
  to implement this section.
         SECTION 4.  Not later than December 1, 2007, the executive
  commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall
  adopt rules as required by Section 242.906, Health and Safety Code,
  as added by this Act.
         SECTION 5.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b) of
  this section, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
         (b)  Sections 1, 2, and 3 of this Act take effect September 1,
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 131 passed the Senate on
  March 28, 2007, by the following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 25, 2007, by the
  following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 131 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 23, 2007, by the following vote: Yeas 144,
  Nays 0, two present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House