Our Lake Worth nursing home abuse attorneys were closely watching the political debate as it unfolded. As you may have read, HB621, which was sponsored by Republican lawmakers, would have left it up to the discretion of the Agency for Health Care Administration whether to revisit a nursing home that was found to be in violation of certain standards – even those that put patients rights and care at risk.
Simply put: this legislation was bad for patients.
As a way to save money, the state would allow the agency some discretion in deciding to revisit a troubled agency (defined as one that had been found responsible for a Class III or Class IV violation) – rather than make such a follow-up visit mandatory. That discretion would factor in reports completed by the nursing home’s own staff and administration.
A Class III violation would be things like residents who are dehydrated, whose diapers aren’t regularly changed or staff that is insufficient or commits medication errors.
Rather alarming is that an annual survey conducted by the AHCA last year found that a large number of nursing homes were found to have these deficiencies. Allowing these agencies to self-report – when it’s already been found year after year that these problems persist – would be irresponsible and lead to a greater number of Lake Worth nursing home abuse claims.
It would have gone into effect July 1.
Thankfully, after passing through several committees, the bill died in the Health Regulation committee in mid-March. But it illustrates an issue that Lake Worth nursing home abuse attorneys often run up against. The fact of the matter is, nursing home residents can’t or don’t vote. Some of them simply aren’t mobile, while others have dementia and other problems that would inhibit them from casting a ballot. With relatively few advocates on their side, politicians find their safety an easy place to cut corners.
But consider the scope of this issue: there are nearly 700 nursing homes in the state and nearly 2,700 assisted living facilities. On average, each of those has more than 100 residents – with 80 percent of those in nursing homes relying primarily on Medicaid or Medicare as payment.
What’s more, while a large number f these facilities complain to lawmakers that their profits are so marginal that they are struggling to stay afloat (causing states to funnel more dollars to the nursing homes themselves, rather than the increasing the Medicare needed to boost the quality of patient care), it’s now been determined those complaints are greatly exaggerated. In fact, a report by Senior Care Investor indicates that most facilities cost about $95,000 per bed.
These facilities don’t appear to be hurting for money, and yet, they continue to provide sub-par quality care for our parents and grandparents.
If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home abuse in Lake Worth or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez for legal assistance. 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.