Here’s a discouraging fact for any Texas resident with an elderly loved one: The Lone Star State consistently ranks dead last in the quality of its nursing home facilities. That ranking comes courtesy of Families for Better Care, a nonprofit watchdog group that issues annual nursing home report cards. Texas earned an F for 2019, after receiving an F in 2018.
Texas was not the only state to earn an overall F; similar “honors” went to Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. But for sheer bottom-of-the-barrel performance, Texas earned the 51st spot out of the 50 states plus Washington, DC.
Is it possible to find an acceptable nursing home in Texas?
Well, given there are more than 1,300 providers, we’d expect a handful to be adequate, if only by accident. But, rather than rely on a happy accident to break your way, we recommend Nursing Home Compare as an invaluable resource for selecting a nursing home.
Nursing Home Compare is a free online service of Medicare.gov that allows you to search for and compare facilities in your area. The site gives star ratings in various categories: Overall, Health Inspections, Fire Safety, Staffing, and Quality Measures. You can compare up to three facilities at a time, to select the best performer for your loved one, and avoid some of the dregs, such as:
- PHP The Oaks at Beaumont — This facility earned one star (i.e., Way Below Average) overall, as well as for health inspections, fire safety, and staffing. At the same time, its quality measures were deemed average. This facility earned 11 health citations on its most recent inspection in February of 2019. For reference, the average number of citations in Texas is 6.7. The facility received six fire safety citations on its most recent inspection, almost double the average rate of 3.2 in Texas.
- SCC at Valley Grand in Brownsville — One star overall, and one each for health inspections, fire safety, and staffing. Three stars (i.e., Average) for quality measures. The facility received six health citations and 13 fire safety citations at its last inspection in June of 2019. Additionally, in the last three years, a whopping 30 complaints resulted in citations, along with 14 facility-reported issues that earned citations. A search for the facility’s website yielded no results at the time of this posting.
- The Oaks in White Settlement in Ft. Worth — One star overall, one for health inspections two (below Average) for staffing and one star for quality measures. This nursing home was hit with 15 health citations at its most recent inspection, December 2018. A search for this facility’s website also yielded no results.
- Alamo Heights Health and Rehabilitation Center in Austin — This facility earned one star across the board, making it “way below average” in every category. At its most recent inspection in November of 2019, the center was hit with five fire safety violations and a staggering 25 health violations. In the last three years, 10 complaints have led to citations, while six facility-reported issues drew citations.
- Apex Secure Care Brownfield — This nursing home earned only one star overall and for health, fire safety, and staffing. It received two stars for quality measures. In its last inspection in December 2019, this facility received three health citations and five fire safety citations. This facility has a Facebook page, but our search did not find a business website.
These facilities may rate among the worst of the worst, but they are far from alone among the hundreds of Texas nursing homes delivering substandard care. This means greater demand for admission to the satisfactory and exemplary facilities, which translates into long waitlists.
So, even if you perform your due diligence and find a good nursing home in your area, there may not be any beds available. This raises the question of how many elderly patients will sustain preventable injuries at a substandard home before they are admitted to a place where they can actually get the proper care.
Despite your best efforts, you may have to gamble on a poor facility. At that point, you must become a zealous advocate for your loved one. If you want to know your rights under Texas law, you should consult a lawyer with experience in nursing home abuse and neglect.
If your loved one is harmed while in the care of a nursing facility, you should immediately contact an attorney who can take decisive steps to hold that nursing home fully accountable.