Archive for the ‘staffing’ Category

Dear President-elect Obama: America’s Healthcare Nightmare — 90% Failure Rate Sector

December 18, 2008

American healthcare has a secret few want to face; conditions “worse than Federal prison” in some cases.

American nursing homes and healthcare for the elderly dehumanizes, degrades, demeans and even harms the people that paid for middle-class and middle-aged Americans and their many luxuries.

After visiting a friend in a nursing home yesterday, my companion said, “That place is worse than Federal prison.” 

My friends are “retired convicts,” as one said.  He told me he’d rather be on death row than in the nursing home facility we visited yesterday.

Our friend in the nursing home wasn’t sure he was getting the proper medications, hadn’t had a bath or shower in weeks and a human waste bucket that had been next to his bed for days stood close to his cold breakfast.

And he’s one of the lucky ones.

More than 90 percent of  nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued last September.

The report last September by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services said 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients.

The veterans of  World War II, for example, the people Tom Brokaw called the  “Greatest Generation,” sometimes live out their last days of their lives in their own filth — and in facilities paid for mainly by your tax dollars and your insurance companies.


Tom Brokaw by David Shankbone

The poorer you are in America the more likely you are to become  neglected, unwashed and uncared-for as an older prerson put away in a nursing home.

You can bet Tom Brokaw won’t end up living in aged squalor.

We’ve visited hundreds of nursing homes over the past year.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some deplorable.

But our overarching impression is this: while you are making money and lots of it, America loves you.  After your energy and money runs out you’ll be treated like an African refugee from Darfur.

There is now a move to rate nursing homes nation-wide.  We support this effert.

The nursing home “industry” is opposed to ratings and angry.

The system “is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and hamhandedly rolled out,” said Larry Minnix, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, an industry trade group.

If you’ve been in a below average nursing home lately, you’ll likely support the new rating system — any new rating system.

Related:
Nursing home industry worries about new ratings

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90% Of Nursing Homes Cited For Poor Care, Violations; 17% Do Harm

By Robert Pear
The New York Times

More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday.
.
About 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, said the report, by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients.

Inspectors received 37,150 complaints about conditions in nursing homes last year, and they substantiated 39 percent of them, the report said. About one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients.

About two-thirds of nursing homes are owned by for-profit companies, while 27 percent are owned by nonprofit organizations and 6 percent by government entities, the report said.

The inspector general said 94 percent of for-profit nursing homes were cited for deficiencies last year, compared with 88 percent of nonprofit homes and 91 percent of government homes.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/us/30nursing.html?_r=1&a
dxnnl=1&referer=sphere_related_content&partner=rss&emc=r
ss&adxnnlx=1229594626-bUq4AQL/mqsIcfbvqCGZwQ

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Nursing home industry worries about new ratings

December 18, 2008

Rating systems help people decide which restaurants to go to or hotels to stay at. So why not something similar from the federal government for the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes?

Such a simple rating for so complex a task as caring for the elderly is leading to much anxiety in the nursing home industry. Home operators worry about the ramifications for their business if they get one or two stars — when five is the best.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was to let everyone know Thursday just how many stars each home is getting. Already the industry is questioning the validity of the rankings. To operators, the five-star system a great idea whose time has not yet come.

The system “is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and hamhandedly rolled out,” said Larry Minnix, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, an industry trade group.

Federal officials say the rankings will put nursing homes “on the path to improvement” because they know family members will think twice before putting someone in a one-star home.

The ratings are based on state inspections, staffing levels and quality measures, such as the percentage of residents with pressure sores. The nursing homes will receive stars for each of those categories as well as for their overall quality.

By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer

Gareth O'Connor holds his friend's dog 'Spanky' ...
In many places, pet care is better than a nursing home.  Gareth O’Connor holds his friend’s dog ‘Spanky’ as he sits in his pet ambulance in Sydney. Australian duo Niccole George and Gareth O’Connor have established a 24-hour ambulance service just for pets, to help desperate animal owners unable to transport their sick animals to medical help.(AFP/File/Greg Wood)

Consumer groups like the concept, but they agreed there are some potential problems with the data. For example, the staffing data is self-reported just before state surveys and is widely recognized as unreliable.

“From a consumer viewpoint, it’s not stringent enough,” said Alice H. Hedt, executive director of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform. “It’s basically taking information already available on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Web site and pulling it into an easier system for consumers to use, and that is a good thing.”

Hedt said consumers should consider the star ratings, but not solely rely on them when comparing facilities. Her organization also issued a press release warning that nursing homes may appear in the ratings to give better care than they actually do.

“Our initial reaction is that consumers should probably avoid any facility with a one- or two-star rating and even a three-star rating unless people they trust convince them that the rating is inaccurate or unfair,” she said.

But, in Indiana, eight nonprofit nursing homes have reported they got one star for staffing even though they have some of the highest staffing levels in the states, said Jim Leich, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Association of Homes for the Aging. He believes the one-star rating is the result of a records glitch particular to any nursing home that is part of a campus that includes housing for residents with less intensive care needs.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081218/ap_
on_go_ot/rating_nursing_homes