Nursing Home Justice Blog

Why Are Nursing Home Abuse Trends Getting Worse?

Written By:

Attorney Mac Hester

Date Posted:

December 1, 2022

Throughout the years, there has been an increase in nursing home abuse cases. Many point the finger at staff members. While this may be the case in some situations, lawmakers in Washington have discovered the head of the snake — the private equity firms that own nursing homes.

Their greedy business model has contributed to the rise in nursing home abuse trends over the last few decades. While their actions satisfy the bottom line, it comes at the expense of the innocent and hurting.

Private Equity Nursing Homes Have Put Profits Over People

Historically, nursing homes have strived to treat recovering residents like family and focus on their individual needs to maintain their quality of life. They felt it was their moral obligation to take care of their own.

However, private equity firms now own 5% of nursing homes nationwide. These firms view nursing homes as a profitable opportunity rather than a chance to help those in need—and affordable care takes a back seat to money-motivated greed.

After a private equity firm buys a nursing home, the transition of ownership often doesn’t go smoothly. Typically, the firms come in and appoint a management company to take over the nursing home’s daily operations. These management companies make it their goal to cut costs and boost profits.

They do this by filing licenses to take in higher-needs patients that bring in more revenue, overcrowding rooms with three or more residents, understaffing nursing homes, and hiring unqualified employees.

By admitting large numbers of residents with little staff to accommodate them, nursing homes can become toxic, unsafe environments.

What’s the Result of Private Equity-Owned Nursing Homes?

With many nursing homes now run by corporate Goliaths, residents suffer as a result. Recent studies have unveiled the harmful effects of private equity-owned nursing homes, and the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated this issue.

One study that gathered data over a 12-year sample period found that private equity ownership increased the short-term mortality of Medicare patients by 10%, implying that 20,150 lives were lost. Another study found that private equity-owned nursing homes were associated with higher costs and increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Overcrowded rooms and other circumstances made it hard to prevent the spread of COVID during the height of the pandemic. Prior to the global outbreak, studies revealed that between 2013 and 2017, 13,299 nursing homes had infection prevention and control deficiencies, which are fundamental when battling viruses like COVID.

Nursing home residents and their families have also reported other forms of abuse and neglect, such as going days without bathing, soiling their clothes, and a lack of attention when emergencies occur. 

What’s Being Done to Combat This Issue?

Private equity-owned nursing home abuse has gained national attention, making it to government officials in Washington. President Biden recognized this problem in his State of the Union Address stating that “As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up.”

His reference to increased costs has affected more than the individual victim. While profit-motivated firms benefit from short-term gain, their actions actually eat up a great deal of taxpayer dollars due to the high costs associated with running nursing facilities.

The Biden administration made it clear they wanted to bring about change and declared many actions to fight against this system of injustice, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Directing Medicare to set higher standards for facilities and instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to examine private equity ownership
  • Establishing minimum staff requirements to ensure all residents receive quality care
  • Reducing overcrowded facilities and promoting single-occupancy rooms
  • Providing more funding for inspections to hold nursing homes accountable
  • Ensuring affordable nurse-aide training

Let Nursing Home Justice Fight for Your Rights

The private equity firms that own nursing homes are backed by large insurance companies that fight relentlessly to limit your payout. We’ll address the root of the issue head-on and pursue compensation from all liable parties.

Contact attorney Mac Hester at Nursing Home Justice today at (303) 775-8128 to schedule your free consultation.

 

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