Since August 2005, residents at Oak Park Health Care have been looking forward to moving into the new nursing home that would replace their aging, deteriorating facility. Administrator Deborah Cole says there's always something broken. "Every day is a repair job. Sometimes we have to completely replace things that we have brand new over there. So, it's hard to imagine why state officials would stand in the way of sick, elderly and disabled people moving into a state of the art facility that's been ready since June."
Attorney Bill Treeby says it has to do with a moratorium on new nursing homes and preventing competition. "It's about stifling competition. Nursing home owners who are in competition with these nursing homes and belong to the nursing home association, don't want a state of the art home competing with their homes. That's what we believe this is really about."
Last session a move to lift the moratorium never made it out of committee. But treeby says the lawmaker who chairs the committee owns nursing homes. Says Treeby, "The problem is there's a committee that all of this legislation has to go through, which is a committee that is headed by a nursing home owner, which is, we think, a conflict of interest."
The two facilities are like night and day; old crowded common areas like the cafeteria compared to beautifully decorated and spacious areas at the new; more space for activities; rooms with new furniture and new TVs and the latest equipment for personal care and improved privacy. Oak park resident bobby Judd is outraged they've not been able to move into their new home.i think it's horrible. I think the state of Louisiana is abusing the elderly.
The home is in the district to be represented by state representative elect A.B. Franklin to be sworn in Monday. "It's a sad situation when you've got a nursing home that is fifty years old and you've got a brand new one that has everything in it, up to date. I mean it is first class. So, I guess we need to find out what really is going on."