Carson: Federal Legislation Needed to Solve Nursing Home Problems

Article excerpt

TULSA (AP) -- Federal legislation is needed to deal with dangerous nursing home problems cited in a new survey, U.S. Rep. Brad Carson said Monday.

Increased federal oversight of nursing homes could expose and eliminate deficiencies that endanger their elderly residents, Carson said in a news conference.

He plans to introduce legislation this summer that could call for federal officials to monitor staffing levels in nursing homes, increase penalties for those homes that break the law and increase public access to information.

A survey on Oklahoma nursing homes requested by Carson, D- Oklahoma, found that only one in six complied with federal laws passed in 1987 to improve care.

One in seven nursing homes had problems that threatened or possibly threatened residents' health, according to the study done by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Government Reform.

"Nursing homes are providing the best care to our seniors, but many nursing homes are falling short of that goal," Carson said.

The survey looked at annual nursing home inspections in Oklahoma from March 1999 to December 2000. The inspections were done by the state Health Department under contract with the federal government.

Problems are not limited to Oklahoma, said Carson, who was elected a Congressman from the 2nd District in November.

"They are common throughout this country," he said. …