Placing a loved one in the care of a nursing home is a gamble. Even when you carefully research potential homes, you may not be getting the full story. Behind glowing reviews and grades, many nursing homes are violating federal regulations and endangering patients. How is this possible?
The New York Times recently published a shocking investigative report on how nursing homes get away with hiding reports of abuse from the public.
Thousands of dangerous incidents, but no reports
According to the Times, “at least 2,700…dangerous incidents were…not factored into the rating system run by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or C.M.S., which is designed to give people reliable information to evaluate the safety and quality of thousands of nursing homes.” It appears that despite the fact that these incidents were reported and verified by state inspection agencies, the incident reports were buried during the appeals process.
The Times’ investigation reveals that nursing homes are allowed to appeal negative incidents—but the process operates almost entirely in secret. Then, if the homes “don’t get the desired outcome via the informal review, they can appeal to a special federal court inside the executive branch. That process, too, is hidden from the public.”
What’s worse, many citations that are upheld never make it onto the Medicare Care Compare website. That means that consumers, like you, never get the full picture when researching care facilities.
Why does this happen? All you have to do is follow the money. “Because of the weight that people place on the star ratings, researchers have found a connection between better inspection results and greater profits.” Four and five-star rated homes are significantly more profitable than lesser-rated facilities—but they may not provide four and five-star care. Nursing homes have a vested interest in maintaining a high rating, but they’re not doing it in an ethical way.
For example, the Times’ investigation uncovered over 2,000 reports from 2017 to 2019 where citations for employees not washing their hands did not harm the rating. Worse, “[a]t 40 other five-star homes, inspectors determined that sexual abuse did not constitute actual harm or put residents in immediate jeopardy.”
In short, nursing homes have been allowed to get away with serious harm to residents. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s crucial that you remain vigilant—and keep my phone number nearby! If someone has harmed your loved one, I’ll find out what happened and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Call Tim today! He’s helped nursing home abuse victims and their families for more than 40 years!
Older adults are some of the most vulnerable residents of Ohio. If you have an elderly loved one who has been the victim of nursing home negligence, I will do everything I can to hold the facility accountable. I’ll be there for you and I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me 877.483.2298