Health Department alleges patient abuse at nursing home

Friday, June 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Residents at a Kiowa County nursing home are being moved to other facilities after an Oklahoma Department of Health investigation found alleged instances of patient abuse.

The Health Department concluded that administrators of the Mountain View Health Care Center ``failed to protect residents from abuse by staff'' and ``failed to identify the potential for serious harm'' to residents.

Most of the 30 residents should be relocated in other area nursing homes by Friday (today), said Dorya Huser, the Health Department's chief of long-term care.

Mountain View Health Care Center was informed June 4 that its Medicaid reimbursements were being terminated, according to Health Department records. All but two of its residents were Medicaid eligible.

Health Department surveyors made onsite visits in February, March, May and on June 12.

Investigators found a nursing home staff member ``putting residents to the floor'' if they displayed any aggressive behaviors. Another manner of abuse was ``seclusion and intimidation'' by a staff member against a resident, the report stated.

The nursing home was placed in ``immediate jeopardy,'' and told to fix problems.

Beverly Whitworth, administrator of Mountain View Health Care Center, couldn't be reached for comment.

The board also announced it will cost more to get a copy of an Oklahoma birth certificate. Members increased the fee from $5 to $10 effective July 11.

The Legislature and governor already approved the fee, which is expected to bring in $1.3 million annually.

More than 200,000 copies of state birth certificates are sought in a year. They are needed for obtaining a driver's license, marriage license, passport, entrance into school, and other reasons, agency officials said.

The $10 fee will allow for the search for a state birth record and issuance of one certified copy of a birth certificate to a qualified applicant. Additional copies will be $10 each.

The search fee for a death certificate will remain at $10.