Nursing home report highlights past problems with facility in Hearne

HEARNE, Tex. (KBTX)- A facility in Hearne with a history of violations was highlighted in a new report this week that details the quality of nursing homes in Texas.

The "Intolerable Care" report published by AARP Texas says Hearne Health Care Center on W. Brown Street was cited for 63 violations in fiscal year 2015.

Click here to view the AARP report

Three violations involved “actual harm” and 12 involved the more serious violation known as “immediate jeopardy” of a resident or residents.

“Staff treatment of residents” was identified 18 times over the course of five visits to the facility by state surveyors. The state has not collected any fines for these health and safety violations.

In fiscal year 2014, Hearne Health Care Center was marked with 26 state licensing violations and paid no fines to the state. Violations that year included “infection control” and “reportable incidents of abuse and neglect.”

A spokesman for Senior Living Properties, the Texas-based company that owns the facility in Hearne, says new management has been put in place since those violations.

"You can see the vast improvements we've made there," said Richard Agnew. "In our most recent inspection by the state, we feel we did great."

The report, “Intolerable Care: A snapshot of the Texas nursing home quality crisis,” finds that the quality of roughly 1,200 nursing facilities where 93,000 Texans reside, is shamefully poor and worse than what exists in most other states. It identifies numerous, long-standing, and severe problems that can be rectified with stronger state enforcement powers.

AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson said the Intolerable Care report presents a solid case for legislative action this year to improve Texas nursing home quality.

“When making the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, family members deserve to know that the facility is adequately regulated to ensure their loved one is safe and well cared for,” said Jackson. “In Texas today, those assurances do not exist.”

Click here to view the AARP report

Jackson said the Legislature can significantly improve Texas’ currently shabby standing among states in terms of nursing home quality by approving a few important reforms, several of which have been recommended by the bipartisan Texas Sunset Advisory Commission.

Specifically, Jackson said the Legislature should repeal the state’s so-called “right to correct” law that allows many nursing facility violations to go unpunished and allows severe problems to fester. Also, he said Texas should stop deferring to the federal government when it comes to penalizing bad-performing nursing facilities. And, he added, the state should develop, as the Sunset Advisory Commission recommended, a full range of sanctions to more accurately match the nature and severity of the violations.