Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Bill Stalls

New Nursing Home Abuse Prevention Bill Stalls in Committee, Elderly Reps Speak Out

Nursing Home AbuseA new piece of proposed legislation to prevent nursing home abuse has stalled in committee in Oklahoma due to disagreements about details.

“It’s a complex bill,” State Rep. David Dank said of House Bill 2901. “It deals with several different subjects, and we’re going to get it right when we get it done.”

According to statistics, Oklahoma has some of the worst nursing home abuse rates in the country. Local nursing home abuse prevention foundation A Perfect Cause reported that 3,500 Oklahomans die each year from nursing home abuse and negligence.

“It’s time to stand up and protect our loved ones now,” citizen advocate Wes Bledsoe said.

House Bill 2901 made several proposals to help prevent nursing home abuse across the state, including increases to nursing home staff, additional medical director oversight, and in the event of nursing home abuse allegations, a state rep would interview the victims, family members, and the accused during the investigation.

Rep. Dank is the chairman of the committee that would have heard the bill. He claims to support the bill, although he also wants to make sure that legislators agree on the terms. He added that he has spoken to numerous senior groups, who also do not agree that House Bill 2901 is complete.

Advocates to prevent nursing home abuse argue that the longer Oklahoma waits, the more people will die.

One such advocate is Fern A. Horton, an 86-year-old woman who lived in two nursing homes after undergoing surgery, and who is a survivor of nursing home abuse.

“I’m mad, and if I cause somebody anger, tough,” she said.

“This isn’t a political football. These are human lives. As I said, what does the body count have to get to?” Horton asked. “Why does it take legislation, a statute for common sense? For humanity to treat people like they’re human beings instead of a stone or a brick?”

“I am terribly upset about it. Once you go into a nursing home, the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply to you,” said Horton.

“I wanna do it, but I wanna do it right. I don’t wanna help some, but hurt others,” Dank said. “We’re gonna do an interim study, we’re gonna call in all sides, and we’re gonna do it right.”

Horton said, in the meantime, she will continue to fight against nursing home abuse and neglect in Oklahoma.

“Till the day I die. It isn’t just until the bill gets passed. It’s got to be acted on,” said Horton.

The Strom Law Defends Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If your loved one has physically suffered, or died wrongfully, due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you may have a nursing home abuse case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of elder abuse cases, and will treat you with respect and compassion. It is important to fight elder abuse so you, your family, and others no longer suffer because of criminal behavior. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help.803.252.4800

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