Nursing home scandal transforms agency - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Nursing home scandal transforms agency

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A nursing home scandal that rocked the state Health Department in 2000 has resulted in an improved nursing home inspection program within the agency.

A review of department records by the Tulsa World shows the number of state inspections has more than tripled since fiscal year 2000.

And compliance with a federal regulation that requires a quick investigation into the most serious complaints has jumped from 14 percent in 2002 to 99 percent last year.

The scandal nearly five years ago involved revelations of bribery, favoritism, nepotism and influence peddling. Then-Deputy Health Commissioner Brent VanMeter and a nursing home operator were convicted in a federal bribery case and 19 department employees were indicted.

Esther Houser -- the state's long-term care ombudsman -- says the department is now focused more on the concerns of the nursing home residents, rather than the nursing home owners.
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