'Texas is a state where it is dangerous to be old,' expert says in wake of Texas City home abuse

Chaz Miller Image
Thursday, October 6, 2022
Expert on nursing homes: Texas a state where it's dangerous to be old
It's a heartbreaking assessment made after a Texas City nursing home video went viral. The expert lays out three reason for it, as well as what you should do before choosing a facility.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Kathy Green is the director of federal and state advocacy at AARP Texas, which means she works with government entities to make long-term care facilities in the state as safe as possible.

As imagined, she couldn't believe what she saw in that now-viral video showing a man at Solidago Health and Rehabilitation in Texas City being manhandled by two workers who are no longer on staff.

"It's horrible," Green said. "It's outrageous that somebody should be treated that way."

Ware Wendell is the executive director of Texas Watch, and he had a similar reaction.

"We're a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that has advocated for safety, justice, and accountability in Texas for over 20 years," Wendell said about the organization he leads.

Medicare.gov uses a five-star scale to rank nursing homes across the country, and Green says Texas leads the country in facilities with only one or two stars.

Wendell said he's seen a variety of issues over the decades that make Texas a "state where it is dangerous to be old."

He said most of the nursing homes in Texas are for-profit, meaning less money actually goes towards patient care.

The second reason he gave is that nursing homes in Texas aren't required to have liability insurance, which makes long-term care facilities less afraid of any repercussions.

The third reason given by Wendell is that a law passed in the early 2000s makes it difficult for state nursing home records to be admitted as evidence in a jury trial.

"Many studies have shown that Texas has some of the most dangerous nursing homes," he said.

As individuals like Green and Wendell work to make facilities safer, what are some things you can do if you're looking to place a loved one in a Texas nursing home?

"Walk around: use your sense of what's going on there. Do patients look like they're being taken care of? Is it clean," Green advised. "Ask to see the inspection reports from the facility. It's incumbent on you to do the research."

As far as the video from Texas City, the city's police department didn't respond to comment when asked if any charges have been filed.

Solidago Health and Wellness issued this statement Wednesday evening:

We remain shocked and saddened that this troubling incident occurred at Solidago Health and Rehabilitation. Protecting the health and safety of all residents in our care remains a top priority, which is why we took prompt action to keep our residents safe. We reported the incident, as required, to the appropriate authorities and are continuing to cooperate in their ongoing investigation. Additionally, we have launched an internal investigation and the employees involved in the incident were immediately suspended. We have no tolerance for behavior that jeopardizes the health and safety of our residents, and all violations of our policies are addressed appropriately. Our thoughts remain with the resident and his family during this difficult time.

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