In a recent national ranking of nursing homes, Kentucky ranked 40th among states, earning a letter grade of D.
The survey, conducted by Families for Better Care, noted that one in five Kentucky nursing homes has been cited as having a severe deficiency, indicating "widespread abuse, neglect and mistreatment."
We are the lowest-ranked state in the Southeast, which itself is the lowest-ranked region.
Gov. Steve Beshear, responding this week to a request from Bernie Vonderheide, president of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, announced forums around the state on nursing home reform, including mandating higher staffing levels.
He will work with citizens and staff "to explore ways in which we can improve the quality of care," Beshear wrote.
Vonderheide praised this as "an historic first step in improving long-term care in Kentucky."
Agreed, but the journey can't stop there.
Listening, exploring, collecting information and ideas must lead — quickly — to action.
With 20 percent of Kentucky nursing homes cited for widespread abuse, neglect and mistreatment, there is no time to waste.