A bill that would have brought sweeping reforms to the nursing home industry in Oklahoma has failed to move to committee, according to News9. House Bill 2901 was shelved in February, outraging advocates who point out that Oklahoma ranks as one of the worst states in the nation for nursing home negligence.
Bill would have provided more staff and oversight
HB 2901 included a number of provisions that sought to improve the safety and care of nursing home residents. The bill would have increased nursing home staffing and added medical director oversight.
The bill also focused on investigating abuse allegations once they arose. It would have required the government to interview victims, relatives and accused staff members during investigations.
While the shelving is a setback, the bill is not completely dead. According to State Rep. David Dank, the bill will be looked at again in the future, but for now he is wary of rushing into passing legislation without doing proper research into the matter beforehand.
Oklahoma nursing homes ranked 48th
Advocates for nursing home reform, however, say that the issue is so urgent that the government cannot afford to put the legislation on hold. According to advocacy group A Perfect Cause, for example, nursing home negligence and abuse leads to the deaths of 3,500 Oklahomans each year.
Furthermore, a study performed last year by Florida-based advocacy group Families for Better Care gave Oklahoma nursing homes an overall F grade and ranked them 48 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, as reported by Fox25 at the time.
That same study ranked Oklahoma last when it came to required hours of professional care and it also noted the 90 percent of Oklahoma nursing homes have been cited for at least one deficiency. Furthermore, a third of nursing homes were cited for abuse, neglect or mistreatment.
Victims have the right to seek compensation
While it appears that legislative reform of the nursing home industry is still some ways off, as the above statistics show the issue of nursing home neglect is a pressing need in Oklahoma. Many people obviously find sending a parent or a grandparent to a nursing home to be an emotional ordeal. When allegations of elderly abuse and negligence at nursing home come arise some people all too often blame themselves for the damage and suffering caused by the nursing home. Fortunately, victims of nursing home negligence can take action today to seek compensation. By talking to a personal injury lawyer who has plenty of experience in nursing home negligence, a victim and their family can find out what legal recourse may be available to them.