While I don’t know about the cost for nursing home care in your corner of the USA, here in Louisville, Kentucky, the average cost of a semi-private room is around $150.00 per day.  This is the room rate and does not include the cost of medications or other incidentals.

For-profit nursing homes can’t seem to stop whining that need/deserve an increase in the amount that is paid to them by Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, many nursing home industry lobbyists tell our Kentucky legislators that they can’t possibly improve their staff-to-resident ratio without a significant increase in their daily rate.  Really?!?  Well I beg to disagree.

The last time I checked, the average salary for nursing home administrators in the United States was nearly $80,000 per year.  The average annual salary for a nursing home Director of Nursing is nearly $70,000. Many COOs, CEOs and CFOs of for-profit nursing home chains command annual salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while some earn more $1 million per year!

What do residents of for-profit nursing homes get for their money?  Not much to boast about…

— Staff-to-resident ratios far below those of non-profit facilities.
— The average amount spent on nursing home meals: around $1.00 per meal.  One Canadian-based nursing home chain, with facilities in both the USA and Canada, recently celebrated when they discovered a way to cut the cost of their average meal to less than 80 cents!
— Wheelchairs that lack working breaks and beds that can’t be adjusted like they were designed to be because they need repaired or replaced.

All of this proof that the money from Medicare and Medicaid is not going into resident care and yet …
— In Kentucky the nursing home industry spent more than $250,000 during a 10 year period to bribe (sorry, we should say “influence”) legislators so as to prevent nursing home reform legislation (including minimum staffing standards) to be enacted into law.
— An east coast nursing home owner pumped most of his profits into running a recording studio for a friend who is a popular country music artist.
— And then there’s the Indianapolis-based nursing home chain that can’t stop putting every available penny of profit into gobbling up even more nursing homes.
— Oh yeah, don’t forget about the many large nursing home chains that have to pay out a hefty dividend to their stockholders.

In my opinion, for-profit nursing homes don’t need one cent of increase in their daily rate.  Instead what they need is a CONSCIOUS that will guide them to put all of their profit into improving resident care!

Before you think for one moment that for-profit nursing homes “need” increased reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid to increase the staff-to-resident ratio, consider the overwhelming body of evidence that non-profit nursing homes (they also receive Medicare and Medicaid payments) have far better staffing ratios than the for-profit facilities.

It is time to stand up to corporate greed and their mismanagement of public (and private) funds and insist that the money intended for resident care go for that purpose and that purpose alone!

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