For-profit Nursing Homes Shadowed By Disregarding Safety and Draining Resources

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For-profit nursing homes have been accused of prioritizing profit over patients for years, but the recent revelation from Louisiana brought the issue back into the spotlight. Even before the Kentucky scandal, some government officials spoke about alleged dire conditions in similar facilities.

Subcomittee’s actions 

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis discussed the issue in the fall of 2020. Chairperson Representative James E. Clyburn said that findings uncovered “the horrors faced by nursing home residents and staff nationwide at the start of the pandemic.”  The subcommittee spoke to numerous sources, with one confirming that for-profit nursing homes did not give staffers equipment and even pressured staff to work despite testing positive for COVID-19. 

Findings from 2018

Gerontology Journal revealed in October 2018 that for-profit nursing home residents are more likely to experience health issues caused by the lack of care. Lee Friedman, the lead researcher, concluded that for-profit facilities’ residents had more “clinical signs of neglect,” including dehydration, sores, broken catheters, and poorly managed medications.

Disaster awaiting 

In 2021, Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School David Papke confirmed in his research that, on average, for-profit nursing homes provided inferior care compared to others. He noted that Congress tried to fix issues in 2020, which is how state investigators came to confirm already known suspicions. 

State inspectors at the Kentucky facility 

State inspectors visited care at Landmark of Louisville Rehabilitation and Nursing in July 2021. Their report stated that residents were wandering the halls, yelling and even beating each other. Someone’s finger was broken, while another resident was abused. But, that was just the beggning. 

Lack of care 

The report, obtained by, continued by sharing that the residents ate nasty meals on plastic trays while struggling to cut through the food with plastic, disposable utensils. The report cited, “The facility did not provide a policy for Dignity and Dining.” They continued by talking to residents who unveiled more horrors. 

The $319,000 fine 

The inspectors found that Landmark was deficient in 29 areas. Among those, six put residents in immediate danger, and three where actual harm was uncovered. The facility was fined US$319,000, or 29 times the average. However, even the hefty fine did not solve the issue. Instead, it opened more. 

The network of abuse 

The Kentucky Landmark is one of 58 facilities run by Infinity Healthcare Management. The parent company operates in five states and has paid nearly $10 million in fines in the past three years. And that’s only one of over 10,000 facilities that make up 72 percent of the nation’s nursing home industry. 

Red flags 

The topic is not new. In 2016, Dr. Charlene Harrington, professor emeritus at the University of California San Francisco, said that nursing homes typically cut staff pay despite the facilities being labor-intensive. Yet, a report by ProPublica showed that New York’s largest for-profit chain, SentosaCare, LLC, has successfully extended despite a history of repetitive fines, violations, and complaints of deficient care among its 25 facilities.

Billion dollar industry 

A new report from Consumer Voice concluded that cutting corners, such as lack of staffing and reduced care for residents, is worth billions. One of the critical findings is that though billions go to companies yearly, there is almost no federal supervision regarding the spending. 

Calls for CMS 

CMS, or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, was named in the Consumer Voice report to “take action” and “ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on care and that the safety and well-being of nursing home residents is assured.” CMS is a federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services overseeing for-profit and similar facilities. 

CMS responded

After the Conversation’s report, CMS told the outlet it is “unwavering in its commitment to improve safety and quality of care for the more than 1.2 million residents receiving care in Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes.” 

To be continued 

The Kentucky report is one of many. UCLA’s recent report, “Tunneling and Hidden Profits in Health Care,” examined how healthcare providers covertly extract profit by making inflated payments for goods and services to commonly owned related parties. The same report also wrote that “provider costs may be overstated,” something that many other researchers also noted.

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