The bigger a nursing home chain gets, the more profit may be placed above care, or so it seems when we take a look at the case of Pennsylvania company Genesis Nursing Homes. Genesis was until recently a trusted care facilitator in Massachusetts and elsewhere, but its growth and its standard of care have been markedly at odds in recent years. Having doubled in size in the past four years to become the largest owner of nursing homes in Massachusetts and nationwide, since 2010 almost half of the nursing homes that Genesis owns have seen their ratings by federal regulators decline. An attorney quoted by the Boston Globe says the problems families are reporting, such as pressure sores and broken bones from falls, are typically seen when nursing homes do not have enough staff to monitor and care for residents.
Inspectors described stark conditions in the Twin Oaks nursing home in Danvers: grimy floors and bed linen smelling of urine. Administrators at the Maplewood Center in Amesbury admitted to inspectors that they were so short-staffed that an activities director and an admissions executive fed patients. A resident with a high fever died from an untreated urinary tract infection at a facility in Meadow View Center in North Reading. The administrators agreed to pay a a $56,000 federal fine after the incident.
Confidential nursing home agreements mean that it is not even possible to discuss the cases brought against Genesis and other big nursing homes by residents and their families. With frail and elderly clients, mistakes like feeding someone the wrong food can cost lives.
Nursing homes across the country are being bought and sold at a rapid rate, according to the Boston Globe report, as companies compete to own facilities with higher profit margins or higher-paying patients. Harvard medical school policy experts have found a direct link between standard of nursing homes as reported by inspectors and the amount of time a nursing home was sold within a ten year span. It’s not clear whether this link means that nursing homes that were already below standard and/or have low running costs are more rapidly bought and sold. Either way the Harvard policy experts have urged federal regulators to pay closer attention and have more information available to consumers. At the very least consumers deserve to have reliable sources of information when choosing nursing homes to care for their family members. Family members and residents of nursing homes should expect care to focus on patients’ needs and not the bottom line.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a poor standard of care at a nursing home, please contact the attorneys at Parker Scheer for a free, confidential consultation.
For more information please consult the following article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/12/10/nursing-home-giant-stumbles-amid-expansion/C94JGnaByi1fdN4DbCDc1L/story.html