Jump to Navigation

Study: A third of nursing homes may not meet basic care standards

"Once you're in a nursing home, if things don't go right, you're really a prisoner." That truth was recently pointed out by a woman with relatives in two nursing homes, prompted by a report just released by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General. The report looked at sample patient records from nursing homes in 42 states and estimates that Medicare pays billions of dollars a year for nursing homes that don't meet the federal standard for reasonable care.

The study involved patient records for people who stayed at least three weeks and used 2009 data, which was the latest available. According to DHHS, the sample size was large enough to represent probable outcomes in around 1.1 million patients.

On one out of every three occasions the patients studied were placed in a nursing home, the facility they were sent to failed to follow the standards of care required by Medicare. Since a large proportion of U.S. nursing homes serve both patients using Medicare and those with other insurance, Medicare's standards are applied to private-paying patients in many cases.

One of the main requirements Medicare sets out for nursing homes is that each patient must receive a personalized care plan, and that plan must kept up to date to ensure all of the health care professionals involved with that patient clearly understand the patient's current treatment and goals. When a patient needs to be transferred home or to another setting, the law requires a specific transition plan to be drawn up to ensure the patient is discharged safely.

Both the ordinary care plans and transfer plans turned out to be problematic in the study. In 20 percent of cases, the patient's health problems weren't addressed appropriately in the plans, or addressed at all. For example, in one case the facility had made no plan to monitor a patient's safety while prescribed three mental health medications even though the drugs could have serious side-effects.

When it came to transition plans, nearly a third of the time the nursing home did not provide enough information. Either the patient wasn't given enough information to care for him- or herself appropriately at home, or the new facility did not received updated records.

The report also found a number of cases where patients received therapy or treatment they didn't need. The researchers pointed out that continuing physical or occupational therapy is in the facilities' interest, but in one example they found that a patient continued to receive therapy even though the care plan stated that all treatment goals had been met.

We've all heard stories about nursing home abuse or neglect, but we need to do more than listen; we need to act. Medical treatment that doesn't meet the basic standard of reasonable care is malpractice, and in nursing homes it can be deadly.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Medicare Paid $5.1 Billion In Taxpayer Dollars For Substandard Nursing Home Care, Report Finds," Garance Burke, Feb. 28, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Subscribe to this blog's feed FindLaw Network Click Here To View Our Correctional Law Website

Office Locations:

Main Office San Diego Address
Nield Law Group, APC
679 Encinitas Blvd., Suite 201
Encinitas, CA 92024
Phone: 760-232-4021
Toll Free: 800-827-1458
Fax: 800-827-1458
Map and Directions

Los Angeles Office
Nield Law Group, APC
6033 W.Century Blvd Suite 605
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Map and Directions

San Francisco Office
Nield Law Group, APC
1450 Sutter Street, Suite 103
San Francisco, CA 94109
Map and Directions

Central Valley Office
Nield Law Group, APC
3741 Shaw Avenue Suite 2005
Fresno, CA 93711
Map and Directions

Desert/Inland Empire Office
Nield Law Group, APC
60222 Angora Ct.
La Quinta, CA 92253
Map and Directions

Colorado Office
Nield Law Group, APC
400 North Park Ave Suite 10-B
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Map and Directions

Consumer Attorneys TM Of San Diego Never Stand Alone TM American Board Of Trial Advocates