Covid and The Fall Of The Nursing Home Industry
In the December 2020 special edition of the AARP Bulletin an article entitled “A Failing Business Model” showcases how Covid 19 has revealed and worsened weaknesses in nursing home finances. The article brings to light the dependence of Medicare patients that these nursing homes have relied on, unfortunately, that dependence has created a hazardous problem. And that problem then results in nursing homes becoming liable for the health and safety of their elderly residents.
The article stated that starting around March due to the impact of Covid 19, nursery home occupancy dropped from 84.3 percent down to 74.80 percent. Then that number dropped again in June. What that means is less income going to nursing homes. And in order for nursing homes to stay profitable they then needed to layoff workers. The problem was Medicare was withholding monies to the nursing homes exacerbating the situation. So not only are the nursing homes losing customers (patients), they are also not getting paid from Medicare. And less money means less care.
The nursing homes had depended on that Medicare money. In fact, the model most nursing homes used was based on Medicare always being there as a financial cushion. The facilities knew that having enough patients being covered by Medicare assistance was a way to keep their budgets balanced. That dependency created problems. Without the Medicare income, nursing facilities needed to replace the lost income with more patients. Unfortunately, having more patients created more work for the staff.
Before the pandemic the nursing home industry was already being labeled with a bad reputation for the mistreatment of patients. During Covid, that mistreatment spread, as nursing homes tried to deal with the pandemic; keeping staff on hand and juggling finances. Some nursing homes went out of business. Some weren’t prepared for the virus at all. And others well…they just didn’t care. They let what remaining staff was around to treat and mistreat residents.
Every nursing home facility needs to have protocols in place to deal with emergencies such as viruses, unplanned staffing deficiencies and budgeting. Without a plan, chaos ensues. And that chaos causes injuries which could lead to death. When a nursing home facility is dealing with chaos, staff is less concerned about the care they are providing. That lack of care results in physical and emotional abuse, malnutrition and medication errors to the patients. It can also result in theft or mismanagement of a patient’s personal funds, property, assets or personal belongings.
If your loved one has been abused in a nursing home setting, please contact our office for a consultation with an experienced attorney.
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