Texas nursing homes are not being monitored enough and facilities with violations are not being properly penalized, according to a new report released by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.
The Sunset Advisory Commission released the report earlier this month detailing issues found within the 13 state supported living centers in Texas and putting forth a number of recommendations for legislators. The report followed investigative coverage conducted by KVUE that revealed a rise in the prevalence of abuse in nursing homes across the state.
The DADS report notes a number of problems within the Texas state-supported living centers and includes detailed explanations of the problems and suggestions to help fix them. One of the main problems highlighted in the report is the fact that the nursing homes that have been found to have serious violations have suffered very little, if any, consequences as a result. Not only are the centers “problematic”, but they are also “costly” to the state, according to the authorities who compiled the report, which includes state senators and representatives.
To house just 3,650 people in the 13 centers involves the employment of more than 13,900 individuals and a cost of more than $661.9 million annually to the state. Texas is one of the few states that still runs a large state-supported living center system, the report notes, and the costs to taxpayers are “growing unsustainably”. One facility in particular came under fire in the report.
Despite “questionable quality of care” at the living centers, the nursing homes have remained open and serving residents, some of whom may be suffering due to the potentially lacking care quality. Because the state can no longer afford to continue supporting all 13 living centers, as concluded by the commission members, they recommended closing the Austin state supported living center by the year 2017 and several others by 2022.
Quality Care Matters
There is no way for DADS to effectively ensure adequate care is being provided at these facilities, which presents a problem for both the state and the residents. The commission report recommends higher penalties against nursing homes that commit violations in order to bolster the quality of care provided and ensure the same mistakes are not repeated intentionally due to a lack of fear of consequence.
When it comes to choosing a long term care facility, it can be difficult to know which nursing homes will provide the quality care most people are looking for, but this new report helps Texas residents be more aware of the various problems facing these state supported systems. It’s important to remember that the report just includes recommendations, not final decisions, and a review of the report is currently being processed to determine which steps, if any, to take to further rectify the problems outlined in the report.
To see the full DADS report, click here. To get a better idea of how to choose a long term care facility, read our latest article on the state of nursing homes in Texas and the different ways to compare and research long term care facilities.