Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nursing home fine underlines problems of unreliability of care, an issue for adult children

One of the country’s largest nursing home chains, Extendicare Health Services (site ), has agreed to settle with the US DOJ for $38 million for a quality of care suit.  The Washington Post has a story by Daniel Salazar on p. A17 today.  The story was not online yet Wednesday morning, but Eric Tucker has an AP story on WCPO in Cincinnati here.  The company and subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation operates in Kentucky and other states.  
The litigation apparently involved two sorts of abuses: overbilling of Medicare for “unnecessary” or unauthorized rehabilitative services in skilled nursing situations (for patients who are supposed to get better), and inadequate custodial care of many patients, with regard to falls, infections, bedsores, malnutrition.
My own mother was in an SNF (not belonging to this company) for two weeks in May 1999 after her sudden coronary bypass surgery at age 85.  I was living in Minneapolis at the time and did not return until June.  But I heard about serious problems at the facility, and a peer female friend of hers did register complaints with an ombudsman. 
My mother passed away in December 2010, after a long period of care at home from home health aides, and four days in a hospice.  But she was never in a custodial nursing home, but I was having to consider it.  A nursing home costs about two-thirds of what round-the-clock home health costs (unless you use a live-in, which is morally much more problematic).  

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