Bill that requires better care for seniors in nursing homes is put on hold

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OKLAHOMA CITY -Fern Horton spent time at two nursing home facilities in Oklahoma City and Edmond.

She said, "The very first two minutes I was in the nursing home I was dropped onto this shoulder."

Horton says this incident, like others, was never reported.

She also claims one of her kidneys is permanently damaged because of over-medication while in a local nursing home.

Horton said, "I don't know how I ever survived this, but I did and I'm going to speak out. And I'm mad and if I cause someone anger, tough."

House Bill 2901 wants to add additional medical equipment and staffing to nursing homes, while requiring the Oklahoma State Department of Health to investigate all cases of abuse and neglect.

Wes Bledsoe, with A Perfect Cause, said, "Well, what I think this bill does is holds the nursing industry and state agencies accountable for their actions."

House Bill 2901 is being put off for now, causing many people, like Horton, to wonder when long-term care is going to improve in Oklahoma.

Horton said, "I understand how this mess happened. I know why it happened. What I don't understand is all the years it's been going on and nobody's addressed it."

Rep. David Dank is the chairman of the committee who shelved the bill for 2013 and says the complexity of the bill needs more time.

Dank said, "I want to do things right out here."

He added, "So many times we get in a hurry and we do things without sitting down and discussing it, without knowing what we're doing and what's in the bill and what's in the legislation."

Now, Dank says they will do an interim study to ensure a bill is passed with more research.

He said, "I support anything that will help the seniors in Oklahoma in both the nursing home facilities and staying in their home."

Rep. Dank says he hopes to look at the bill again in October or November of this year.

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