Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Prior Knowledge of Inspections Questioned

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Prior Knowledge of Inspections Questioned

Article excerpt

TULSA (AP) -- State health officials and nursing home administrators say nursing homes do not know about surprise state inspections until the inspectors show up at the facility.

But advocates for the elderly say they are not so sure. They say there are numerous accounts of nursing homes apparently having prior knowledge of upcoming surprise inspections.

Bonnie Moore offers one such account.

An employee at the Colonial Park Nursing Home in Okemah told her his vacation had been put off, Moore said. When asked why, she said he told her the facility was going to be inspected soon.

He was talking about the anticipated "surprise" visit by inspectors from the state Department of Health, said Moore.

Nursing homes are rarely fined, records show. A sampling of state records showed at least a rough pattern in the state's inspection schedules, the Tulsa World newspaper reported.

Anna Clark wonders why the closets that often ran low of clean linens were always filled before inspectors arrived when she worked at Highland Park Manor in Okmulgee.

Nurse's aides spent days ahead of time going through residents' drawers, cleaning out leftover medications and food items that weren't supposed to be there, Clark said.

Appliances like hair dryers were put away, and medical records were updated.

A worker at Rebold Manor in Okmulgee, who did not want to be identified, told the Tulsa World that workers there get ready for the inspections before they occur and they bolster staff numbers so plenty of aides will be on hand.

But Jerry Taylor, the state's director enforcement for nursing homes, said if homes in Oklahoma are making extra preparations, it's not because of any direct notice from the state.

The homes may be anticipating inspections, although the state can inspect a home anytime within 15 months after its last inspection. …

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