People of Texas pride themselves on being the largest and biggest in everything, but being named the state with the biggest problem with their nursing home facilities in the country is not something to be proud of. In fact, it is a downright disgrace.
This rating is based on a report by an advocacy group based in Florida, which gives the nursing facilities in its home state a good (B) if not great rating. Texas warranted an F because a whopping 94% of the surveyed facilities found deficient or severely deficient in providing state-mandated minimum level of care to residents. The biggest problem found in these facilities is the severe lack of direct care provided by staff, indicating that residents are largely neglected most of the time. When considering that these residents are mostly unable to care for or even get around by themselves, this is indeed a big problem.
Cases are on the rise but the state is slow in imposing sanctions or yanking licenses for facilities that have been repeatedly cited for violations. Nursing home abuse lawyers have their work cut out for them even in cases where videos from hidden cameras show actual physical and verbal abuse being doled out by nursing home staff. Part of the blame for this state of affairs is placed on the constant shortage of experienced staff, but that is no justification for the failure of the administration to properly monitor their staff and ensure the safety of the residents.
As pointed out at http://www.habush.com/practice-areas/medical-malpractice/nursing-home-malpractice/, nursing homes are there to provide professional health care for the most vulnerable of the population, and need to meet certain standards of care. Unfortunately, it is not so easy. It is only when victims and their families take action in civil court to hold the responsible parties accountable that these nursing homes are compelled to honor their duty of care.
Federal law under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NHRA) imposes rules and regulations specific to elder care establishments that receive payments from Medicaid or Medicare. These rules are generally more stringent than the standards of care required of wholly privately-funded nursing homes, although when abuse is reported, they are held just as liable. States may also, and do, have their own laws governing nursing homes over and above federal law, although they may be patterned after the NHRA.
But according to the website of law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® in Wisconson, nursing homes cannot be relied on to provide residents with the care and attention they require. When it comes to incidents of abuse or neglect, the nursing home may be found liable for the actions of their staff members or other residents if they are aware of it but fail to report it to the designated authorities.
Under Texas law, anyone can report incidents of abuse or neglect, and in the case of nursing homes, this includes administrators and owners. Once a written report is made to the designated agency, the agency will then begin an investigation within 24 hours of receiving the report. Anonymous tips alleging nursing home abuse or neglect are not given the same weight as a named source, and the agency may choose not to do an investigation.
Typically, the investigative process begins with an unannounced visit to the care facility. The investigator will then observe and interview residents for signs of abuse or neglect and other witnesses that may corroborate the report. The investigator may also conduct a physical inspection of the premises and document the findings in writing and with photos. It may be necessary to obtain a court order to carry out some or all parts of the investigation.
A report from the investigator must be submitted within 30 days after the investigation has been completed. It will contain the findings of the investigator, and recommendations for future action