Local nursing home residents concerned about benefits

Monday, January 21st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's Department of Health threatened to take away a Tulsa nursing home's Medicaid benefits because the home failed inspections. That has about a dozen residents in a panic, because they'll have to leave and have no other place to live.

News on six reporter Jenni Monet has the story. "I wouldn't want her to have to go anywhere else." Linda Strait and her sister Mary say their mother has lived in peace, ever since she moved to the Georgian Court Nursing Home 8 years ago. "We've never had a problem here. Mother's always been happy here." But now the State Department of Health could force the 90-year-old parent out, along with a dozen more elderly residents living off Medicaid reimbursements. "We got a letter that said her benefits would be terminated as of January 21st."

It was a letter, sent out by the Oklahoma Department of Health, notifying residents that the nursing home had been denied its certification for Medicaid and Medicare. "These residents will not lose their funding, it simply means that the facility will no longer be paid for the care that is rendered.” But before that can happen, co-owner of the nursing home Warren Walker says the state must first prove to a judge that Georgian Courts has violated any state health regulations. "We believe that as of November 30th survey that we were in substantial compliance."

The state Health Department says the nursing home has had it's share of problems for the past two years, including discrepancies in record keeping, staff training, and failing grades in medical care and grooming. It's why both sides will head to court at the end of this month. "How you doin' missy?" Ultimately determine the fate of residents like Linda's mother. "All of her friends are here, people here on the staff knows what she likes. I won't move her from here unless I absolutely have to.”

This case will be heard in federal court on January 31st.