According to a study focusing on nursing facilitiesabout five million elderly people are abused, neglected, or exploited annually. This amounts to nearly 10% of elderly adults, and with expected growth in the elderly population, this number is expected to rise. Lawmakers in the state of Texas are hoping to curb elder abuse by implementing stricter laws on nursing homes.
At a Texas Sunset Advisory Commission meeting in August, a Texas state senator suggested a law that would force nursing homes with repeated reports of abuse to be shut down. Specifically, it would require the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to revoke a nursing home license from any facility with three of the highest-level violations of federal quality standards during any two-year period.
Proponents of this “three-strike” regulation hope to target the absolute worst nursing facilities in the state. Currently, the proposal would only affect seven out of a total of 1,200 nursing homes throughout Texas. According to state and federal inspection records, amongst the violations at these seven homes, there were at least three incidents that placed residents in immediate jeopardy of harm or death during the past two years.
There are a few concerns about the proposal, mainly that a “three-strike” law could lead to subjective investigations, premature judgment calls, and unnecessarily punitive results. Opponents of the regulation do not believe that nursing home licenses should be revoked if a nursing home is making an honest effort to make corrections.
Lawmakers are expected to confront this issue during the 2015 legislative session.
Robert Greening is the principal attorney at Greening Law, P.C. He has dedicated his 24 years of practice to the litigation of wrongful death and serious injury cases. If you have any questions about elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact Greening Law, P.C. at 972-934-8900.