The rise of for-profit nursing homes is proving tragic for some of the nation’s most vulnerable people, resulting in a spike in waste, fraud and abuse charges brought by federal authorities, according to a new report.
An investigation of government data and court filings from Bloomberg News reveals horrifying circumstances at these facilities: A 92-year-old lung cancer patient given physical therapy after spitting up blood. An 80-year-old woman who couldn’t support her own head forced into a “standing frame” for over an hour. An unattended 77-year-old patient who choked on her dinner.
The profit motive is having an outsize affect on quality of care, according to Bloomberg, which obtained U.S. government data through Freedom of Information requests. “Thirty per cent of claims sampled from for-profit homes were deemed improper, compared to just 12 percent from non-profits,” according to the article.
Seventy percent of nursing homes were operated on a for-profit basis in 2010, according to an audit by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which counsels Congress. For-profit nursing homes perform better financially: Their profit margins from treating Medicare patients were 21 percent in 2010 compared to 10 percent for non-profit nursing home companies, the commission reported.
Cases filed against the firms by law enforcement and by families of patients who died allege that for-profit nursing home companies pressure facility managers to minimize the number of employees and keep down their hours to save costs. At the same time, these firms push for patients to receive services they may not need, according to the allegations cited by Bloomberg.
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For-Profit Nursing Homes Fuel Rise In Fraud And Abuse Charges