A new law will change the licensing process for long-term care providers for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3117 on June 14, and leaders of Breckenridge Village of Tyler said the facility can serve more people as a result of the changes.

“There’s a finite number of licenses to operate these facilities,” said Steven Campbell, Breckenridge Village of Tyler executive director. “And so, in order to obtain one, you have to wait until someone closes down or one’s suspended or they want to sell theirs.”

Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, said he authored the bill after Campbell came to him. The new bill will allow facilities like Breckenridge Village to apply to receive reallocated “beds,” which are a measure of how many people a facility is licensed to serve.

In fall 2017, Breckenridge Village completed construction on three homes, which each can serve six individuals with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. However, the licensing process has been a barrier to admitting more residents, Campbell said.

The three homes were built with private donations and two remain vacant, he said. The third home is operational after Breckenridge Village purchased a license from a broker, a process that has cost the organization up to $250,000 in the past.

“As a result of this bill, there will be processes put in place to — hopefully soon — obtain additional licenses to open up these facilities,” Campbell said.

TWITTER: @Tylerpaper

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