The Attorney General (AG) of Texas issued an important opinion on February 23rd addressed to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) regarding “retirement centers” that require residents to use the centers’ own home health agencies. First, the AG agreed with DADS’ interpretation that an establishment, including one characterized as a retirement community, that furnishes food and shelter to four or more persons who are unrelated to the proprietor and that requires those persons to obtain personal care services through the proprietor’s licensed home health agency is an assisted living facility that must be licensed under section 247.021(a) of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The AG also concluded that an Assisted Living operator may not require its residents to use a particular personal care services provider to the extent the services are provided by a health care professional, as defined by section 247.067(a) of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Nor may an Assisted Living facility restrict its residents’ rights to contract for health care services with personal care services providers, although a facility may restrict residents’ authority to contract with personal care services providers for services other than health care. To the extent an assisted living facility’s contract with its residents requires the residents to obtain non-health care personal care services from a specified provider, the facility may enforce the contract. You can find the complete opinion GA-0403 at [http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/ga/ga0403.pdf].