How Nursing Homes Hide Profits While Residents Suffer
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on December 28, 2021 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
While COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic magnified all the deficiencies in the nursing home industry, most of the problems are not new. Nursing homes continually claim they need more funds to help support their facilities. Yet there is significant evidence of an industry that hides profits while residents suffer.
Are long-term care facilities making a profit? If so, then why are residents receiving such mediocre care? Why is understaffing such an issue? How are nursing homes able to claim transparency in their reporting while successfully hiding revenue?
PKSD shares a newly-released documentary from Vice News. This documentary reveals how nursing homes are gaming the system while claiming to have no profits and how residents are paying the price.
Ongoing Issues That Cause Harm to Residents
Nursing homes target families with cheerful marketing about pleasant facilities and quality of care. Yet despite their many claims for putting the care of patients first, most facilities do not live up to the hype.
There have been issues for decades that repeatedly result in substandard care for residents. These problems are common across many for-profit facilities in the country, resulting in these alarming statistics:
- According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 33 percent of Medicare beneficiaries suffer some type of harm during their first two weeks of care
- Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that 90,000 nursing home residents each year suffer from bedsores
- There are 380,000 residents who die from infection-related deaths each year
To put the number of infection-related deaths into perspective, that statistic is almost twice the number of residents who died from COVID-19 since the outbreak began.
Understaffing is Still a Major Cause of Substandard Care
Understaffing has long been a huge issue in nursing homes across the country. An incident at a Life Care Centers of America facility is just one example of how this issue negatively impacts resident care.
Mary Curtis, an 89-year-old woman, contracted a urinary tract infection. She was first hospitalized and then sent to a Life Care Center outside of Las Vegas for rehabilitation. During her short stay, she fell twice. Not long after that, her daughter, Laura LaTrenta went to visit. When she arrived, a nurse told her that she had been given a large dose of morphine – 120mg – by mistake. This medication, which was given to her in applesauce, was intended for another resident.
The nurse handling her care was apologetic but said the facility was short-staffed. In fact, this nurse claimed she had 40 patients assigned to her care.
The next morning, despite being told that staff would be doing vital checks throughout the night, LaTrenta was told no one had been in to see her mother. When she arrived, Mary Curtis was completely out of it. She never recovered and passed away not long afterward.
Life Care Centers of America operates the largest chain of privately owned long-term care facilities in the U.S. today. There are currently 200 Life Care Center facilities that care for residents in more than 28 states. It is a $3 billion business.
How Nursing Homes Hide Profits
Nursing homes get most of their revenue from taxpayers – more than $80 billion annually. As such, these facilities are supposed to report how they spend federal dollars. These reports are not always available to the public, but even when they are, few people can understand them.
The combination of these purposely complex reports and a lack of transparency in the nursing home industry has made it possible to hide considerable profits. Recent research uncovered by Vice News shows that these practices are rampant throughout the industry. In fact, facilities reportedly are making conscious decisions to decrease staffing in order to increase their profits.
Concerned About Your Loved One in Long-Term Care?
At PKSD, we are dedicated to helping residents in long-term care who have suffered serious harm due to understaffing and other types of negligence.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered injuries or other harm due to nursing home negligence, our experienced Wisconsin nursing home lawyers are prepared to help.
Call our firm anytime, day or night, to set up a meeting with one of our licensed attorneys. There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. If we represent you, there are also no upfront costs. We only get paid if you do.
Call Our Firm for Trusted Legal Assistance. 877-877-2228