Texas is dead last in nursing home quality, according to a new state-by-state report card delivered this month from a Florida-based advocacy group.
Brian Lee, director of Families for Better Care says staffing is a big problem in Texas nursing homes.
“The nursing homes only averaged 2.24 hours of direct care staffing per day, Lee said. “So, that means a resident received only about two hours and 15 minutes of care per day from frontline caregivers”
Lee says those are the ones who bathe, dress, feed and provide other necessary services to residents. He says low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates to nursing homes, and the reluctance of for-profit homes to spend more to add personnel are key factors in the failing grade on staffing.
The report card analyzed federal data in eight quality-of-care categories. Texas was the only state that flunked six of them.
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) inspects and regulates 1200 nursing homes. Spokeswoman Melissa Gale says the statistics quoted in the Families for Better Care study do not tell the whole story.
“The number of serious deficiencies and the average number of overall deficiencies in Texas nursing homes are actually below the national average,” Gale said. “And, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Texas is 6th in the nation when it comes to states with the most five-star rated nursing homes.”
Brian Lee says Texas did score a “C” in the serious deficiencies category, but that was the state’s highest grade. The rest were F’s, and one D. He says compared to other states, Texas is not doing a good job.
“The report card was meant to applaud those states that are doing a good job taking care of our elderly across the nation,” Lee said. “And those states that are not doing a good job, we want state officials, industry representatives, and families to take a step back and see what needs to be done to ensure that our parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends that are living in these nursing homes are well cared-for and treated with dignity and respect like they should be.”