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EJH, who has worked as an Occupational Therapist in nursing homes for over 20 years, has seen with her own eyes the pathetically poor care given to nursing home residents. As someone working within the for-profit sector of the nursing home industry, where financial profit is placed far above the desire to provide an excellent quality of care, she notes that “Very few understand just how bad it is.” How bad is it? Her description of the nursing home industry is quite chilling:
“The care of our elderly is embarrassing, even in the finest facilities (and there are very few of those). My son works at a kennel and those dogs get better care than nursing home residents – and that is in no way an exaggeration. I also feel it is not the fault of the CNA’s, but the corporations and health care system that are making money off of our loved ones backs.”
Animals receive better care than do humans residing in nursing homes. This is what happens when the focus is on maximizing financial profit instead of providing the highest possible quality of care.
A very sobering example of the reality mentioned by EJH is the incredibly small amount of money for-profit nursing homes spend on resident food. An Extendicare-owned facility in Indiana reportedly “rewarded” their dietary staff with a dinner party for figuring out a way to reduce the cost of three meals and two snacks per day from around 85 cents per day down to barely 70 cents per day!
- How much does it cost for a one day supply of decent dog food these days?
- How much did you spend on food to feed yourself today?
- How much would it cost to adequately feed an elderly parent most days?
Remember that Extendicare and the other for-profit chains wont stop whining about how woefully underpaid they are for providing nursing home care. Medicare, Medicaid, other insurance companies and even nursing home residents are billed upwards of $175.00 per DAY for a semi-private room in most parts of the United States. Yet these corporations, with executives earning hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) annually, can’t afford to spend more than 70 cents per day to feed a resident? Something is seriously out of whack here — something is downright obscene and even evil – with the way these for-profit corporations divert profits away from resident care (care that includes how much they spend to feed their residents). Profits are diverted into such things as executives salaries, designer decor for their buildings and other business interests that have NOTHING whatsoever to do with providing care for their residents.
We must give the for-profit nursing home industry an ultimatum: Stop stealing from your residents or you will pay by losing your licenses that allow you to run your facilities!
The study linked below, published by researchers at the highly respected University of California at San Francisco, proves a point that I’ve made many times on this blog: for-profit nursing homes do NOT need more money from Medicaid or from their residents in order to improve the quality of resident care. Indeed it is the NON-profit facilities who overall provide a higher quality of care than the for-profit, greed-driven facilities!
So when the nursing home industry whines about needing more money to care from residents, make no mistake they are already earning enough money to provide a higher quality of care. The reality is that the executives and stock holders of these faccilities are (morally speaking) stealing from their residents by paying themselves handsomely and using their nursing home profits to fund other business investments.
Please click on the following link and learn the truth about the horrible impact of corporate greed on for-profit nursing homes: Low Staffing and Poor Quality of Care at Nation’s For-Profit Nursing Homes | www.ucsf.edu.
As the research study poinds out, “The 10 largest for-profit (nursing home) chains were cited for 36 percent more deficiencies and 41 percent more serious deficiencies than the best facilities. Deficiencies include failure to prevent pressure sores, resident weight loss, falls, infections, resident mistreatment, poor sanitary conditions, and other problems that could seriously harm residents.” The 10 largest for-profit chains in 2008 were:
- HCR Manor Care,
- Golden Living,
- Life Care Centers of America,
- Kindred Healthcare,
- Genesis HealthCare Corporation,
- Sun Health Care Group, Inc.,
- SavaSeniorCare LLC,
- Extendicare Health Services, Inc.,
- National Health Care Corporation and
- Skilled HealthCare, LLC.
Note that the study clearly makes a connection between inadequate staffing levels among the largest for-profit nursing home chains and a higher incidence of state-issued citations for insufficient care: “From 2003 to 2008, these chains had fewer nurse ‘staffing hours’ than non-profit and government nursing homes when controlling for other factors. Together, these companies had the sickest residents, but their total nursing hours were 30 percent lower than non-profit and government nursing homes. Moreover, the top chains were well below the national average for RN and total nurse staffing, and below the minimum nurse staffing recommended by experts.”
So here is solid evidence that the greed that runs virtually unchecked in for-profit nursing home corporations — and NOT lack of adequate payment for services — is undoubtly the single biggest factor cuasing a serious crisis in the quality of nursing home care! So when the nursing home industry comes begging for more money from state legislatures in terms of Medicaid reimbursement and telling their sob stories to US Senators and Congressmen as they plead for more money from Medicare, just remember that non-profit nursing homes (including those run by government agencies) are currently doing a BETTER job of providing care (by having higher nursing staffing levels) without a bigger handout from the government.
Take a moment to look over the list of the Top 10 For-Profit Nursing Home Chains listed above — print out the list if you like — and remember that these are nursing homes to be AVOIDED based on their inadequate staffing levels and the resulting increased problems cited with the so-called quality of care they offer. Tell your friends about these corporations and, if possible, don’t allow your loved one to live in one of these facilities!