Nursing home adviser resigns amid allegations

Thursday, August 19th 2004, 3:02 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ The part owner and operator of a Hominy nursing home accused of multiple care deficiencies resigned Thursday from the state board that advises nursing home regulators.

Gov. Brad Henry asked Lloyd Haskins, the secretary, treasurer and part owner of Oklahoma Nursing Homes Ltd., to leave the Long-Term Care Advisory Board, a source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

In a letter to Henry, Haskins said he would resign so that ``publicity'' about Hominy Nursing Home would not distract the board from its work toward ``improvement of services to the elderly in Oklahoma.''

Henry appointed Haskins to the board, which advises the Oklahoma Department of Health on nursing home issues, after recommendations came from a state nursing home industry group and a state senator.

``As I have said many times before, I will do whatever it takes to protect elderly and infirm Oklahomans,'' Henry said in a statement. ``My administration will not tolerate any form of abuse or neglect in Oklahoma nursing homes.''

A health department report released Tuesday accused Hominy Nursing Home, one of 12 owned and operated by Oklahoma Nursing Homes Ltd., of 50 deficiencies.

Sixteen of those placed elderly, mentally ill and mentally retarded residents of the 63-bed facility in immediate jeopardy _ the most severe deficiency, the report said.

The report said the home failed to protect residents from physical and sexual abuse, punished residents by withholding privileges and other violations.

Fewer than 30 residents are now staying there and Norman attorney Fred Gipson was appointed as the facility's manager July 19. Department investigators spent about two weeks at the home last month.

Further, the report said Haskins told home employees not to speak to investigators and threatened retaliation against those who did, the report said.

Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, said the Democrat Henry should re-evaluate his methods for appointing members of state boards and commissions in light of this controversy.

``I hope we're not headed back to the days of ghost employees and stonewalled nursing home inspections, but these newest revelations are definitely cause for concern,'' Fallin said.

Henry appointed Haskins at the recommendation of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers and Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Howe. Haskins serves on the association's board.