Oklahoma Nursing Homes Get F Grade in Nationwide Comparison

Oklahoma and the other 10 states in red received F grades from the Nursing Home Report Cards.

Oklahoma and the other 10 states in red received F grades from the Nursing Home Report Cards.

Oklahoma nursing homes received an F grade from the “Nursing Home Report Cards” presented by a Florida-based nonprofit.

The Nursing Home Report Cards averaged eight data points from the nursing homes of all 50 states. States were then divided into quintiles, with the lowest group receiving an F grade.

The 10 states that received F grades are: Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Nevada, Illinois and Iowa. (Who says Oklahoma and New York have nothing in common?)

Oklahoma ranked lowest in the nation for registered nurse (RN) hours per resident per day. Nursing home residents in the state receive an average of less than 30 minutes a day of RN care. Alaska, the top-ranked state in that criterion, provides an average of 70 minutes of RN care per day.

The 10 states that received an A grade are Alaska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota and North Dakota.

The Nursing Home Report Cards were developed by Families For Better Care, which describes itself as “a non-profit citizen advocacy group.” However, the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, which represents nursing homes in the state, charged that the nonprofit is funded primarily by a law firm in search of nursing home lawsuits.

“The group’s claim as to the unbiased nature of the report card is dubious at best,” OAHCP director Rebecca Moore said.

However, the Report Cards methodology is based strictly on easily verifiable statistics. The Report Cards website provides a detailed explanation of its methodology. The grades are based on eight statistics. Five of the statistics were drawn from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare:

1. Percentage of facilities in the state with above average registered nurse staffing

2. Percentage of facilities with above average direct care staffing

3. Percentage of facilities with above average health inspections

4. Percentage of facilities with deficiencies

5. Percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies

Two more data points, both about staffing, are drawn from the Kaiser Health Foundation:

6. State’s average registered nurse (RN) hours per resident per day

7. State’s average certified nurse assistant (CNA) hours per resident per day

Finally, one statistic is obtained from the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman:

8. Percentage of verified complaints.

Oklahoma’s F nursing home grade drew several responses from across the state. Charles R. Clark, Ponca City, a member of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature, said in a Tulsa World editorial:

“As the number of older Oklahomans continues to increase rapidly, our state will require residences where individuals can receive professional and caring oversight in the twilight of life. Please don’t allow another day to pass without expressing your commitment to improving our state’s poor rankings. Before we know it, we will all be faced with the question: ‘Who will take care of me?’”

Rep. Richard Morrissette, a Democrat state lawmaker who represents south Oklahoma City, said, “Do those seniors we love have a right to quality of life? We have a duty as a society to show them compassion.” Morrissette proposed an interim study, “Improving Oklahoma’s Nursing Homes,” but the House has not approved the study.

Morrissette said key issues in Oklahoma’s nursing homes include staffing, requiring the state Health Department to investigate all allegations of abuse which result in death, and requiring emergency medical resuscitation equipment and training in nursing home facilities.