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For Release: September 30, 2014 – Tony Sellars, Office of Communications - (405) 271-5601

Long Term Care Facility Advisory Board to Hear Healthy Aging Proposal
Houser, Huser to be Recognized

The Long Term Care Facility Advisory Board will meet to review proposals to improve health in nursing homes and to streamline the abuse investigation process. At the meeting, the board also will recognize the contributions of two advocates for improved nursing home service.

The advisory board’s meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8 in room 1102 of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City.

On the agenda is a proposal from the Oklahoma State Department of Health to develop a partnership for healthy aging in nursing homes.  The State Health Department will present information on a statewide challenge to promote progress on key health indicators for nursing home residents, to include discussion of critical clinical measures, long and short term goals, partnerships for change, and regular public reporting of results.  

“The Oklahoma State Department of Health is committed to improving the quality of care and life for nursing home residents.  We are focusing on building partnerships to solve important problems such as resident falls, pain, infections and use of antipsychotic medications,” said Dr. Terry Cline, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health and Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“Many medical, nursing and pharmacy experts, health care providers, agencies and organizations have been investing in healthy aging for all older adults.  This partnership will help bring that energy to bear on healthy aging for older adults in nursing homes.”

Cline cited the success of a recent Oklahoma partnership to improve care for nursing home residents with dementia.  The partnership worked with nursing homes to reduce the use of unnecessary antipsychotic drugs.  The goal was a 15% decline in the use of antipsychotic drugs in 2013.  Nursing homes achieved an 18% reduction, improving Oklahoma’s national ranking in that area from 48th to 39th.  In 2014, antipsychotic drug use declined another 4% for a 22% decrease in unneeded drugs over two years.  

“The dementia care partnership is a great example of Oklahomans partnering for healthy aging, to help nursing home residents live longer better,” Cline said.    

The board is also set to review a report from a subcommittee working to improve the investigation and enforcement process for allegations of abuse against nurse aides in long term care homes. The subcommittee was formed in April 2014 and already has seen significant reductions in the time needed to provide long-term care employers with warnings when a nurse aide is under investigation for alleged abuse.

During the meeting, the service of two long time advocates will also be recognized. The board will honor Esther Houser, State Long Term Care Ombudsman with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, for her 40 years of service in support of older adults. Houser’s work includes resolving complaints, helping older adults protect their rights, and representing older adults before government agencies. She has served as a member of the Long Term Care Facility Advisory Board since its inception in 1980.

Also to be recognized is Dorya Huser, director of Long Term Care Service with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.  Ms. Huser administers the inspection and investigation programs for nursing homes, assisted living centers, residential care homes, adult day care centers, and facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  She has served as director since 2012, and has been the state health department’s liaison to the advisory board for 12 years.

Both Houser and Huser are retiring from state service this year.

"These two public servants are truly awesome. We are going to miss them," said Dewey Sherbon, chairman of the advisory board. Sherbon, from Tulsa, was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to represent the general public over the age of 65.  

The advisory board was established by Oklahoma law in 1980, with 23 members appointed by the governor and four additional members representing state agencies that regulate long -term care facilities. The board’s charge is to review and make recommendations on improving the quality of care, treatment and services for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, as well as advise the Commissioner of Health, the State Board of Health, the governor, legislative leaders, and other state agencies.  

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