Nursing home staffing an issue in KY Governor debate

Staffing became an issue in the recent Kentucky Governor’s race.  Democrat Steve Beshear said that Kentucky needs to consider requiring minimum staffing levels at nursing homes, but Gov. Ernie Fletcher said the corporate owners should be allowed to determine how many nurses they hire.

Last night, Beshear said Fletcher’s administration has failed to protect seniors, citing a news story that indicated the number of citations for nursing homes has declined since the Republican became governor in 2003.

“We don’t have enough inspectors to go and enforce” laws that apply to nursing homes, said Beshear, a Democrat.

“I think it’s time to look at minimum staffing numbers,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure the profit motive doesn’t interfere with the care motive.”

Fletcher said the state doesn’t need to set minimum numbers of nurses for nursing homes saying that the state can ensure adequate care in other ways.

“We’ve closed nursing homes that needed to be closed,” he said.