Local & Regional News
9:37 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Arkansas Nursing Homes Receive A Failing Grade In National Survey

A new national report card by a nonprofit nursing home resident advocacy group gives failing marks to elder care facilities in Arkansas.

Elderly residents wait in the hallway of a nursing home.

Families for Better Care, a Florida-based group; scored, ranked, and graded states on eight different federal quality measures ranging from staffing shortages to the percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies.

Arkansas is ranked 39th in the state-by-state survey and received a ‘D’ grade for low marks in several key areas.

Martha Deaver is president of Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents. Deaver says the state received a poor rating because it does not have enough registered nurses caring for nursing home residents.

“Last year, I made a [Freedom of Information Act] request for the violations on Arkansas’s nursing home residents, which there were 232 nursing homes in the state in 2012 that were funded with Medicare and Medicaid dollars,” said Deaver. “The list I received back after my FOI request was very shocking. There were over 2,300 violations at Arkansas nursing homes that were cited for actual harm or the potential for death.”

The report by Families for Better Care also noted that two-thirds of health inspections at Arkansas facilities yielded results that ranged from below average to average conditions and one out of every four Arkansas nursing homes were cited for severe deficiency.

“We were rated very poorly for not having enough registered nurses care for our sickest and most frail residents who require 24-hour nursing care. In the report, it does document that [Arkansas] has a high rate of actual harm violations and other serious abuses,” Deaver said.

Arkansas scored below average marks in six of eight measures in the state-by-state survey and the state failed in three critical areas: registered nurse hours, facilities with above average nurse staffing, and the percentage of facilities with deficiencies.

As Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents continues its efforts to promote policies that improve the quality of care for people who live in long-term care facilities in the state, Deaver admits there needs to be more accountability.

Deaver says federal and state officials need to decertify Arkansas nursing homes that receive millions in taxpayer dollars each year but do not comply with important laws and standards.