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Nursing home advocate calling for resignation or removal of numerous State officials

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OKLAHOMA CITY - One of the Oklahoma's leading advocates for nursing home safety fights for the resignation of seven high ranking state officials.

On Wednesday advocates with A Perfect Cause met with staff at the governor's office to demand the resignation or termination of those employees from the Oklahoma Department of Health and Oklahoma DHS.

The founder of A Perfect Cause, Wes Bledsoe, believes those seven state officials are not doing their jobs and not protecting nursing home residents.

"We're moving toward sweeping reform in Oklahoma," said Bledsoe.  "Too many people are suffering in our nursing homes and that has got to stop."

In a closed door meeting at the governor's office, Bledsoe demanded the resignation of seven state officials, including DHS director Ed Lake and state health commissioner Terry Cline.

"Under these officials there are such huge holes in their practices they're not protecting these residents," said Bledsoe.  "So if leadership at the top is not following state and federal law, that leadership has to go."

Blesdoe believes the state routinely fails to protect nursing home residents by not performing proper and independent investigations in cases of alleged wrongdoing.

"The state is allowing nursing homes to self investigate themselves," said Bledsoe.  "How can we trust nursing homes to do an unbiased investigation of itself."

While the governor's office doesn't have authority to terminate the 7 employees, Mary Fallin did release a statement that read, "I take any allegations of abuse or neglect at our nursing home facilities extremely seriously. I welcome a constructive conversation about how we can improve safety and care at the state's nursing homes."

A spokesperson with the DHS says Bledsoe has never contacted them to discuss his concerns.

They don't know why he's asking for some of their employees to resign, but they do welcome a face to face meeting on the issue.