After extensive evaluation of assisted living facilities and state statutes governing them, Missouri City is planning to implement municipal regulations that will improve the safety and welfare of residents who reside in assisted living facilities.
At its April 18 meeting, City Council voted to move forward with an ordinance that does the following:
*Prohibits individuals who do not possess required state licenses from opening or operating an assisted living facility in Missouri City.
*Allows the fire marshal to order the emergency closure of a facility whose owner does not hold a required state license and that poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of a facility resident.
The ordinance was authorized on the first of two readings and City Council will consider final approval on the second reading at its next regularly scheduled meeting on May 2. If approved by City Council, violators of the ordinance will face fines up to $500 and Missouri City will become the first municipality in Texas to adopt an emergency closure law. In addition, Missouri City will join El Paso as the second state municipality that prohibits assisted living facilities from operating without a license.
“We are committed to fully protecting our citizens and these new rules will enable staff to ensure populations impacted by this ordinance have the best quality-of-life available to them,” City Manager Frank Simpson said. “At times, we may incur nominal enforcement costs, but in the long run the City will save lives and achieve savings by reinforcing the law and having existing or potential operators voluntarily come into compliance.”
Statewide, the management of assisted living facilities is a priority, given that there are more than 2.4 million seniors who live in Texas, a number that continues to rise along with the need for assisted living and long-term care. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services is responsible for regulating assisted living facilities and publishes a detailed operations manual for owners.
By definition of City ordinance, an assisted living facility is an establishment that:
(1) Furnishes, in one or more facilities, food and shelter to four or more persons who are unrelated to the proprietor of the establishment;
a. personal care services; or
b. administration of medication by a person licensed or otherwise
authorized in this state to administer the medication; and
(3) May provide assistance with or supervision of the administration of
Additionally, in the event the fire marshal effects the emergency closure of a facility, City code requires the fire marshal to provide written notification to the following parties: the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and other appropriate state agencies; the owner of the property on which a facility is located; the facility operator; a staff member and any lien holders or proprietors. Property owners and facility operators will have the right to appeal emergency closures in writing within 10 days of a decision; if none is filed within that timeframe, the decision becomes final. City Council will hold public hearings on written appeals within 30 days of filing.
For updates on the issue, please watch missouricitytx.gov and tune into Missouri City Television (Channel 16 on Comcast and Channel 99 on AT&T U-verse).