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Negligent Nursing Homes Getting Billions from Taxpayers

If you went to a restaurant and ordered lobster and the waitstaff instead brought you fish sticks, you would likely refuse to pay for it.

Our Hollywood nursing home negligence attorneys know this is essentially what is happening with the nursing home industry and the taxpayers.

A recent Inspector General report found that in 2009 alone, nursing home conglomerates were paid $5 billion in taxpayer dollars for care that was either substandard or negligent. A total of 37 percent of all nursing homes that received federal dollars in the form of Medicaid reimbursements weren’t actually meeting plan-of-care standards for the patients for whom the facilities were collecting payment.

Brian Lee, Florida’s former Long Term Care Ombudsman, now leader of advocacy group Families for Better Care, said the laundry list of tragedies in our state alone each year could fill books. These include examples such as a military veteran whose care plan was not followed and he waited months for his catheter to be changed properly.

Skilled nursing facilities are required to hammer out and implement a care plan for each person in their care. Adherence to those plans is critical in assuring that the patient is going to receive an appropriate level of care. Not only were these nursing facilities delivering a poor quality of care with regard to medication management, wounds and therapy, 26 percent of them weren’t even taking the time to develop an adequate care plan in the first place.

The care plans are supposed to address problem areas, define clear objectives and detailed time frames. They are to be developed by an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals. Nearly 30 percent failed to meet at least one of these three criteria.

Almost all of these instances were preventable had the nursing homes simply formulated a good plan and then adhered to those basic standards of care. This is what they are supposed to be doing. This is why the government is cutting them a check. They don’t do it. The government still pays them.

In wound care, the report found one case in which a woman was admitted to a skilled nursing facility with a bed sore. During her time there, rather than improve, she developed three more sores. The wounds were not tracked or treated properly – yet the facility was reimbursed through Medicaid for her care.

In medication management, there were numerous reports of facilities overmedicating patients in order to keep them sedated and subdued.

In therapy, there was an example of a terminally ill cancer patient who was offered physical therapy five times a week by the skilled nursing facility – something for which the agency would be reimbursed by Medicaid. At some point, the patient informed the staff she did not want to continue. The staff ignored her request and forced her to continue the therapy throughout the remainder of her time there.

Many of these nursing homes, Lee said, are able to get away with it by essentially creating shell operations of LLCs that on paper appear to be quite poor. In reality, profits are funneled to publicly-traded Fortune 500 companies. These complex corporate structures are often difficult to unearth.

That’s why you need a law firm with experience and dedication.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Negligent Nursing Homes Grab 5 Billion Tax Dollars in One Year, March 6, 2013, By Matthew Fleischer, TakePart

More Blog Entries:
Florida Nursing Home Dialysis Patients at Grave Risk, March 4, 2013, Hollywood Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Blog

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