Grady Burris hopes to open a new nursing and rehabilitation home in Bee County but that will take the assistance of the county commissioners and approval from the state.
The state only allots a fixed number of beds per county for Medicaid patients.
According to Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which handles this distribution, the purpose of the bed allocation rules and policies is to improve the quality of resident care by selecting and limiting the allocation of Medicaid beds, to promote competition and to control the number of Medicaid beds for which DADS contracts. The number of Medicaid beds in a facility can be increased only through waivers and exemptions.
Commissioners took their first step, agreeing to write a letter to the state Monday verifying that they do qualify and notifying them of the county’s intent to seek a waiver.
From here it will be a process of posting notices and holding hearings.
Ultimately, the court will issue its request to the state for the beds citing the county’s need and to which nursing home will receive them.
“As you may not be aware there is a moratorium on Medicaid beds in the state,” Dot Cole of Cole Consultants said.
“It is very, very difficult for a nursing home to operate without assistance of Medicaid funds. Unfortunately, the state has closed the allocation of Medicaid beds.
“There are about 1,200 nursing homes in Texas and there are only about 30 that do not have Medicaid beds.
“So it is very obvious that they do need Medicaid beds.”
Obviously, Burris hopes his company will receive the beds, but that isn’t a guarantee.
“When we ask for additional beds, it could go to anyone, correct, not just a new facility?” questioned Commissioner Dennis DeWitt during the court meeting Monday.
“It is up to you who you would like the beds to go to,” Cole said. “Judge (David) Silva would send a letter to DADS asking that the beds be awarded to a particular provider.
“You will decide how many beds you feel you need.”
Burris, chief operating officer of Liaho, parent company for the nursing and rehabilitation centers, said that he chose to approach the court with the proposal because he has an affection for the county.
“We are from Victoria. I grew up working cows in Beeville,” he said. “I am driving through town... and I am saying to myself, ‘Y’all need a new facility.’
Burris said that both his grandfathers, Walter Burris and Jess Williams, lived in Beeville, which further strengthens his tie to the community.
“In a small town, that is what you want,” he said. “You want someone who is going to care and take it personally.”
Burris said that the firm only works in the smaller towns and so far has opened eight nursing and rehabilitation centers in the area.
“The last facility we built was in Ganado,” he said. “We revitalized their downtown area with the facility. As well as bringing jobs into the area, you are looking at a payroll of $2.5 to 3 million coming into the area.”
“We are doing it slowly and progressively, making sure everybody is taken care.”
DeWitt noted that since beginning this process doesn’t tie the commissioners to any one company, it has no immediate drawbacks.
“It almost sounds like none can lose on this thing,” he said. “It sounds like there is an unmet need for beds.”
Burris said that 120 beds would be the maximum commissioners could request.
“It is our philosophy that competition increases quality,” he said.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.