Planning for the later years of life can be a difficult conversation, whether it happens between couples, an entire family, or simply a patient and their doctor. However, taking the time to discuss, explore options, and commit to a long-term care arrangement can lead to a happier, healthier, and ultimately less costly old age.
New investigations of nursing homes across the nation have only underlined these facts. Particularly troubling is a new finding that for-profit nursing homes, an increasingly large portion of all assisted living institutions, are providing inadequate care to residents and an inordinate cost. One California for-profit home was specifically investigated by federal prosecutors for keeping patients in an understaffed facility in which care went frequently remiss.
Federal health care inspectors in a November report noted that 30 percent of Medicare claims sampled from for-profit nursing homes were either fraudulent or improper. In comparison, only 12 percent of non-profit homes’ claims were found to be also improper. Researchers and Medicare officials have found that for-profit nursing homes are “fueling waste, fraud, and patient harm in the $2.8 trillion U.S. health care sector.”
What’s more, 78 percent nursing homes’ total $105 billion in revenue went to for-profit institutions in 2010, a sign that for-profit homes are both increasing their share in the market and laying claim to more and more of residents’ savings.
This October, one Eureka, California home managed by the for-profit Skilled Healthcare Group Inc warranted 11 criminal counts of elder abuse, including instances of patients left unattended in soiled clothing, denied food and baths, and exposed to an increase risk of infection, according to evidence.
All told, these discoveries foreshadow a future fraught with exploitation and risk throughout America’s nursing homes. As baby boomers age and move toward assisted living situations, long-term care planning becomes all the more fundamentally important for them and their families. Working with an attorney, the rights and expectations of those contemplating a nursing home can be both clarified and safeguarded.
Source: Bloomberg News, “For-Profit Nursing Homes Lead in Overcharging While Care Suffers,” Peter Waldman, Dec. 31, 2012
•Our firm can work with you to find the best, most responsible long term care arrangement. For more information, contact our Los Angeles long-term care planning page.