Growing old in America just got a bit riskier for everyone.
While we may generally think of nursing homes (aka skilled nursing facilities) as a place for the oldest and weakest citizens at the end of their lives, this isn’t necessarily the case. Nursing homes are used by many folks for a period of rehab after surgery, an injury, or care due to progressive degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, dementia, Parkinson’s, and MS to name just a few. General arthritis or other issues of mobility can make staying in one’s home (referred to as “aging in place”) prohibitive. Memory issues are an increasingly prevalent reason for intensive and monitored care in a group home setting.
Whether or not you currently have a loved one as a nursing home resident, the quality of care in such places is an issue that will most likely affect you or a loved one sooner or later.
Here are five very important facts about nursing homes you need to know:
- Nearly 70% of nursing homes are privately owned for-profit businesses, generally set up as LLCs., and many times as multiple LLCs to further shield ownership, spend significantly less than nonprofits on per-patient care and may be as much “60% more likely to be cited for health and safety violations than nonprofits.”
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is a legal way to shield a business by doing just what the name implies: limiting liability. In other words, they make it more difficult for them to be sued.
- “Since 2013, nearly 6500 nursing homes—four of every 10—have been cited at least once for a serious violation,” according to a December 24, 2017 article in The New York Times and federal records. We’re talking such things as “failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores.”
- The Trump administration has been gradually working to generally relax fines against nursing homes for a number of the most common and serious violations. This has been heavily lobbied for by The American Health Care Association, a group representing for-profit nursing homes.
- 2017 saw a definitive rollback of rules designed to protect rights of nursing home residents in favor of business practice requests from the nursing home lobby:
- June: nursing homes may once again bar residents from going to court by requiring binding arbitration instead.
- July: the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a memo discouraging regulating agencies from imposing fines on infractions that started prior to an inspection. A simple one-day fine would be issued rather than multiplying the fine by the number of days the infraction existed, thus drastically reducing the financial impact on the nursing home.
- October: the Center advised its regional offices to refrain from administering fines for what it deemed a “one-time mistake.”
- November: Under the previous administration, eight new rules had been put in place in order to make nursing homes more responsible for the mishandling and overuse of psychotropic drugs (sometimes referred to as “medicated restraint” when used to render residents non-combative) and defining adequate care requirements for patients with psychological problems. All fines for infractions of these rules have been suspended for 18 months.
Because nursing home residents are so vulnerable to lax care, inept treatment, and even criminal acts, The Ruth Law Team’s attorneys are especially concerned about any reduction in the accountability and punishment of nursing homes which fail to properly care for and protect their residents from harm. With for-profit corporations pushing for more reduction in regulations and fines in order to protect their bottom line, the innocent victims are those fragile patients who are dependent on these facilities for their care and their families who have entrusted with them the lives of those they love.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys are here to help people just like you obtain justice through our court system. This is no easy task, but because we have the necessary skills and the resources needed to sustain such a fight, we are able to offer this service with absolutely no upfront costs or fees to our clients. In fact, we only earn a fee if we make a monetary recovery on your behalf. We have years of experience battling against for-profit nursing homes and the many corporate layers set up to shield their assets. You and your loved ones do not need to go it alone at the mercy of a large business that may care more about profit than providing adequate care.