nursing homes

VALLEY FALLS, Kansas — Dennis Ritchey stands in the kitchen of his modest apartment. He calls it efficient, but likes that it has plenty of cabinets.

Nine nursing homes in Kansas and 14 in Missouri are among nearly 400 nationwide with a “persistent record of poor care” whose names had been withheld from the public, according to a U.S. Senate report released Monday.

The facilities are not included on a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny because of health, safety or sanitary problems.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have tightened the financial requirements for a license to operate nursing homes.

The move comes after state regulators were forced to take over 22 struggling nursing homes last year, the most anyone in the industry could remember.

Officials with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services told The Kansas City Star they had no choice to step in because nursing home managers had fallen behind on bills for basics like food and utilities, putting the health and safety of residents at risk.

Kansas City and St. Louis have some of the worst-rated nursing homes in the country, while Topeka, Overland Park and Wichita have some of the best.

That’s according to rankings published by FamilyAssets, a New York-based company that offers assessments and planning for people seeking home health care services.

Sepsis hits nearly two million people in the U.S. a year and kills more than a quarter million. It’s a particular problem in nursing homes, where the aging, confused and immobile are especially susceptible.

In Kansas, scores of nursing homes have received federal citations since 2015 for practices that can put residents at a higher risk of sepsis.

Susan NYC / flickr, Creative Commons

Officials say the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is on track to fall short of federal requirements for inspection of 350 nursing home facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the agency's compliance record for annual inspections has grown worse since 2015, when state employees completed surveys at nearly 80 percent of the state's nursing facilities.

Only 35 percent were inspected in 2017 and the state is on pace to conduct less than 40 percent for 2018.

Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Kansas officials have received a court order Friday to expedite their takeover of 15 financially troubled nursing homes. State regulators say they need to move quickly to protect hundreds of elderly and disabled Kansans who reside in the facilities.

Susan NYC / flickr, Creative Commons

Kansas officials are moving to protect more than 800 vulnerable residents of 15 financially troubled nursing homes across the state.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is seeking court orders to put the facilities — currently operated by a New Jersey company — into receivership.

That would allow another company to take over operations pending arrangements to either sell the homes or close them.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Nursing homes in Kansas find themselves in crisis, say the people who run them.

Rick Kimpel / flickr Creative Commons

Health care officials say Kansas nursing homes are hesitant to take patients who need hospice care and who are waiting on Medicaid coverage because they may not get paid for the care they provide.

A backlog of Medicaid applications has been affecting Kansas nursing homes in recent years. Beneficiaries of Kansas' privatized Medicaid program, KanCare, wait months to see their applications approved while nursing homes provide care for which they aren't paid, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

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