Friday, August 30, 2013

Kentucky nursing homes rank 40th in the nation in new survey; reformers ask governor to create special task force for action

Kentucky got a D grade and a rank of 40th among the states in a new national survey of nursing-home care, and reform advocates are calling on Gov. Steve Beshear and other policymakers to take corrective action.

The state ranks lowest in the Southeast, the lowest ranked region, in nursing home care quality; one in five Kentucky nursing homes were cited as having a severe deficiency, "indicating widespread abuse, neglect and mistreatment of residents," says the report of the survey, created by a Florida-based advocacy group Families for Better Care.

"The results of this first-ever survey sadly represent real people, human beings being abused and neglected every day," writes Bernie Vonderheide, president of the Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, the lobby that spearheaded the call for action. A representative of the Kentucky Association of Healthcare Facilities, the lobby for for-profit nursing homes in the state, was unavailable for comment.

The survey analyzed eight federal measures gauging nursing home care, and the state's nursing homes scored below average in five of the eight categories. For example, only a third of Kentucky facilities reported health inspections above average. Click here for more information or to see survey results.

In the letter to the governor, Vonderheide requested the creation of a special task force to address the issues, which they say affect thousands of Kentuckians, many who cannot speak up for themselves: "It’s time to stop this growing crisis in our state before it gets so big that we cannot manage it."

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