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Texas Tops List of States With Worst Nursing Home Violations
- May 27th, 2003
Nursing homes in a dozen states account for nearly three-fourths of the most severe and repeated violations of nursing home patient care standards according to a four-month Gannett News Service investigation.
The state with the most severe and repeated violations of patient-care standards from 1999-2003 was Texas. The 11 other states, in descending order of severity of problems, were: Illinois, Arkansas, Washington, New Jersey, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The violations included failing to protect patients from mistreatment, hiring staff without conducting criminal background checks, and allowing patients to be abused and physically punished.
The investigators also found that patients at homes owned by for-profit companies fared worse in some ways than residents in government and nonprofit nursing homes.
The Gannett investigation was based on interviews with dozens of people and an analysis of four years' worth of federal data on inspections and patient well-being at the nation's 16,000 nursing homes.
More than 500 nursing homes across the nation have been cited in the past four years for repeated and severe deficiencies, yet the federal agency in charge of enforcing nursing home standards, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has no program to target these repeat offenders, the Gannett investigators found.
Once a nursing home is found to be in violation of federal standards, it is subject to penalties ranging from fines to license revocation. However, nursing homes are rarely forced to shut down and consumer advocates say the fines amount to little more than a wrist slap.
For more on the Gannett survey, go to: http://tennessean.gannettonline.com/gns/nursinghomes/index.html
For an article on the Bush administration''s approach to nursing hoem enforcement, click here.
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