Helping Our Neighbors

I say it often — the most important part of a state representative’s job is being responsive to the needs of constituents.

This can mean helping constituents navigate what can be a complex and confusing system of state services, by answering questions regarding state law, or providing information by hosting events like our Town Hall earlier this month or the utilities forum we’re hosting in May.

I want to take a moment to highlight one example of why these constituent services are so important.

Last December, I met with Vicki Niedermayer, the CEO of a not-for-profit organization called Helping Restore Ability (HRA). The organization, founded in Arlington in 1977, helps disabled Texans remain independent by helping them receive assistance in their homes. Last year, due to other providers no longer offering these services, and the Legislature providing additional funding to move people off years-long wait lists, Helping Restore Ability’s client base grew quickly. Unfortunately, at the same time, HRA wasn’t being reimbursed by the state and they thought they may have to shut their doors as a result. That’s when Vicki came to me and asked for help.

After back and forth with several agencies and individuals, my staff was able to untangle the issues that resulted in the delayed payments. Although there are still issues being worked out, the problems that nearly shut the organization down earlier this year have largely been resolved.

In appreciation for our role in addressing these crippling issues, Vicki Niedermayer sent me the following note in appreciation and thanks for our efforts:

“Recently, our nonprofit agency experienced an unprecedented surge in the number of people with disabilities needing our help. Our business model is that once we determine that the person is eligible for services, we provide those services and then bill our contracts with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) for reimbursement.

Due to a staff shortage and a backlog of authorizations for care at the state level, we were experiencing delays of up to 6 months in being reimbursed for services rendered. Rep. Turner and his staff met with our team, listened to our concerns and the impact on those we serve, and went to work on our behalf immediately. Within just a few weeks, our information was entered into the state billing system, and we were able to recover most of the funds we had been waiting on for many months.

Rep. Turner and his staff were immediately responsive to our situation, which was jeopardizing our 39-year-old agency and more importantly, the elderly and disabled that we serve all across the state of Texas. It is so refreshing to know that we have a caring, compassionate servant leader acting in Austin on our behalf. On behalf of those we serve, thank you Rep. Turner and your dedicated team!”

I’m proud that due to the good work of our team, this organization will continue to serve many people in need, not only in our community, but across the state of Texas.

If you are in need of help with a state agency or have a question about a state law, call my Arlington office at 817-459-2800 and speak with our Director of Constituent Services, Tammy Dubberke.

We’re here to help.