When it comes to the health of Texas nursing homes, the diagnosis is poor according to an extensive new report. The study, Intolerable Care: A snapshot of the Texas nursing home quality crisis, from AARP-Texas, finds the quality of the roughly 12,000 nursing homes across the Lone Star State to be "shamefully poor and worse than what exists in most other states." The problems range from patients not getting timely or proper treatment for ailments, patients being allowed to wander off or get lost, to substandard cleanliness at facilities. An estimated 93,000 Texans reside in nursing homes, but a "silver tsunami" of new patients is expected in the years ahead.
Amanda Fredriksen with AARP Texas says the report is basically about accountability for nursing homes. "Our concern is that we see these serious violations happening over and over and over again, and no consequences associated with them," she tells KTRH.
Fredrikson points out that the state already has authority to enforce the license it grants to nursing care facilities. "I think most people see that license as a seal of approval, and what we're seeing is that's not the case in a number of facilities," she says. In particular, she would like to see the state enforce its 'three strikes' law for nursing homes. "Which requires that the state pull the license of a facility that has three of the most serious violations over the course of a two-year period,” she says.
AARP Texas is also calling on this year's Legislature to pass new legislation to strengthen the accountability standards for nursing homes, including a repeal of the so-called "right to correct" law, which allows facilities to correct violations on their own without any punishment. "The Texas Legislature is in session right now, they're only in session every other year, and because there are these laws on the books that tie the (state's) hands, this is the opportunity to address that," says Fredriksen.nur