The decision to place a family member in an Oklahoma nursing home should be taken very seriously. Instead of improving the quality of care and living conditions in care facilities, Oklahoma continues to be one of the worst states in the country when it comes to caring for its nursing home residents.
Brian Lee, the Executive Director of Families for Better Care, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public and working to improve nursing home care, stated, “It’s shameful that nursing home owners and state officials have allowed nursing home care to worsen over the last year. Far too many residents are needlessly suffering from abuse and neglect.”
Oklahoma Nursing Home Ratings and Rankings
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) rates nursing homes in the state on a five-star scale. Criteria it uses for its rating system includes:
- Home inspection reports;
- Quality of nursing staff and number of nursing hours spent with each patient; and
- Quality the facility exhibits in meeting 11 different criteria related to the clinical and physical needs of patients.
The current CMS overall rating of Oklahoma nursing homes is 2.8 stars. This puts Oklahoma dead last in terms of overall nursing home quality. Nearly 70 percent of all Oklahoma nursing homes received a CMS rate of only one to three stars.
The 2014 Nursing Home Report Card issued by Families for Better Care gives a slightly higher ranking to Oklahoma nursing homes, finding Texas is the only state with worse nursing facilities. The overall grade given by the Report Card was an “F.” In 2013, Oklahoma received an “F” but was ranked No. 48. Although slipping down only one rank might not seem to make a difference, it is indicative that Oklahoma is going backward, not improving its overall nursing home quality.
Specific Problems Found in Oklahoma Nursing Homes
One of the major failings of nursing homes in Oklahoma (according to CMS data between 2013 and 2014) involves nursing staffing. Oklahoma received a failing grade in three out of four staffing measures. Some other specific failings of Oklahoma nursing homes include:
- More than 80% of Oklahoma nursing homes are understaffed.
- 98% were cited for one or more deficiencies. A deficiency means that a state or federal law was broken and the nursing home is on notice that it must be corrected.
- Approximately 28% of cited deficiencies were considered serious, with 25 % of them for causing “actual harm or immediate jeopardy to residents.”
- A total of 10,480 deficiency citations were issued.
- 159 fines were ordered to be paid with a total amount of $3,285,075.
- CMS suspended payment to 90 facilities. This means that CMS would not pay for any services until the deficiencies were resolved.
Who is in Charge of Regulating Oklahoma Nursing Homes?
The Oklahoma Department of Health Facilities Systems inspects and licenses nursing home facilities and is responsible for ensuring safe homes for the elderly who live there. As Brian Lee said, it may be time for the governor and the legislature to step in and “reverse the state’s trend of nursing home neglect.”
Oklahoma also has an Ombudsman, as do all states. It may be that in Oklahoma, an ombudsman should be bypassed and those with complaints should consult with a nursing home abuse attorney first.
Need Information About Problematic Nursing Home Facilities in OK?
Below are some of the worst rated nursing homes in the state of Oklahoma, making their way to the infamous “Special Focus Facility” list.
Meadowbrook Nursing Center
113 East Jones
Chouteau City, OK 74337
Midwest City Nursing Center
8200 National Ave
Midwest City, OK 73110