Nursing Homes Harm Patients Even After Government Crackdown
Some nursing homes, unfortunately, neglect and abuse their patients. When patient care at a particular nursing home becomes especially bad, the state health department may step in. The health department can designate the nursing home a “special focus facility,” which is a category reserved for the worst of the worst nursing homes.
Nursing Homes Rarely Lose Federal Funding
Once a nursing home becomes a special focus facility, it is supposed to face an ultimatum – it has to fix the problems that led to poor patient care or it will lose its funding from Medicare and Medicaid. In practice, however, very few special focus nursing homes ever lose their Medicare and Medicaid funding, even if the improvements they make are only temporary.
All too often, the special focus nursing homes improve their patient care while they are under the observation of state regulators. The nursing homes pass a few inspections, and the state releases them from the special focus program. Once freed from the program, the nursing homes often backslide. A study showed that more than half of the nursing homes released from the program have harmed or endangered their patients within the last three years.
Neglect and Abuse Continue
After a nursing home has “graduated” from special focus oversight, it rarely gets placed back into the special focus program, even if the nursing home continues to violate the law. Instead, state regulators will issue fines for the violations. Nursing homes that are run by large companies are able to pay the fines easily, so they have no real financial pressure to change the way they operate.
To make matters even worse, fewer nursing homes are ever put on the special focus list in the first place now because of federal funding cutbacks. Less than half as many nursing homes are being monitored under that program now compared to five years ago.
We Can Help if Your Loved One Suffers Nursing Home Abuse
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be on the lookout for any signs of abuse or neglect. If you suspect your loved one is not being treated right, it can be very helpful to talk to a nursing home abuse attorney. Call us at Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 328-2630 to find out what we can do to help your loved one.