LAS VEGAS -- A new report by a nursing home advocacy group shows Nevada nursing homes are among the worst in the country.
Families for Better Care created the report by pouring over state inspections sent to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
According to the group, Nevada was one of two states where every nursing home was cited on one or more deficiencies by state inspectors.
"I wouldn't even say it is bad. I would say it is dreadful," Executive Director of Families for Better Care Brian Lee said.
Nevada's nursing home care was considered so bad that the state failed to manage a passing grade in any category.
Lee says the worst nursing home in the valley is Clearview Health and Rehabilitation in Henderson, the only one now on a federal watch list.
Lee says that means the care is so bad health officials need to put it on a federal hall of shame as a warning to consumers.
"Residents have been harmed. Residents have been put in imminent danger," Lee said.
Beyond that, this report shows inspectors cited about a third of our nursing homes for a severe deficiency, indicating widespread abuse, neglect and mistreatment.
Debra Tansley just left Life Care Centers Paradise Valley, an experience she never wants to re-live.
"I had missed medication. I have to argue with them about my medication," Tansley said. "I almost had a fall in the shower where the CNA was playing with her phone instead of watching me."
Tansley's claims have not been validated by a state inspector; however, in November of last year, state health officers did cite Life Care Center Paradise Valley for discharging a patient who still needed care.
The citation found that the patient was "noted to be severely short of breath and was intubated."
That patient went to the hospital where doctors determined the patient was clinically brain dead.
According to Lee, many of the worst nursing homes are owned by giant companies that put profits ahead of patient care, saying they are too far away to see the problems happening in their facilities.
Clearview, for example, is owned by a company in Baltimore and released this statement Tuesday afternoon.
"Everyone at Clearview is deeply committed to the care and safety of our residents. Though our facility has experienced challenges in the past, we are taking the necessary steps to address them. While we cannot comment on specific resident care due to privacy laws, we appreciate the continued support we have received from residents and their families as we build upon the progress we have made in recent months. The health and safety of our residents continues to be our highest priority." business office manager Darren Polin said.
A lobbyist for Nevada Senior Advocates says while nursing homes are fined stiff penalties for violations, there has been little to no enforcement.
Managers at Families for Better Care say that means there is no incentives for local nursing homes to clean up their act.
Tansley says there is not enough staff at some of these facilities to provide proper patient care.
"I'm more able to take care of myself. I'm worried about the 70, 80 year olds that aren't able to help themselves," she said.
Advocates say until nursing homes are forced to pay penalties, little can be done.
8 News NOW contacted the state about the report. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services sent a statement that said in part, "Nursing homes are regulated through the federal government and licensed by the state. The state conducts investigations to determine compliance with both federal and state regulations. The violations, or deficiencies, of the facilities named in this report were identified by state regulators and through the state's rigorous oversight of these facilities, nursing homes were required to make changes."
The state also says it can ban admissions or fine facilities that are found to have deficiencies or have violated regulations.
8 News NOW called nine local nursing homes with very low overall ratings to see if they wanted to talk about patient care. Some declined to comment at all. Others didn't have administrators available to talk to Tuesday. Three, including Clearview, called back.
Horizon Health and Rehabilitation Center released this statement, "We take the input of outside regulators very seriously and will continue to work closely with the appropriate agencies to make meaningful changes that benefit our residents. We are constantly striving for improvement and continually undertake quality and satisfaction initiatives to designed to produce positive outcomes. Everyone associated with our facility remains committed to providing the highest level of compassion and care to our residents, and we look forward to an improved rating in the future." Director of Nursing Debbie Dailey, RN said.
Life Care Center told 8 News NOW they feel they were unfairly portrayed by state inspectors. The statement said in part:
"At Life Care Center of Paradise Valley, residents are our highest priority. We believe in treating residents like members of our own family, and their safety and well-being are the paramount goals in our day-to-day operations. Our dedicated staff of compassionate and highly skilled associates is committed to that mission of service."
The company also states that an independent, nonprofit organization known as the Joint Commission has accredited the facility using criteria that goes above and beyond the state's regulations.