Profits Over People
New research shows that for-profit nursing homes had more COVID cases because of lack of resources and mismanagement. The lack of supplies, training, and safe staffing prevented facilities from stopping the spread of the Trump Virus. Nursing homes are ground zero for the pandemic with 40% of the deaths, despite having only 7% of the cases. Of the more than 215,000 deaths so far, more than 87,000 took place among residents and staff members at nursing homes.
The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed the data in Mississippi. The data proves that for-profits provide less quality care. For example, twice as many residents caught COVID-19 at for-profit nursing homes, and three times more died there. 40% of all residents have confirmed COVID-19 cases in these for-profit homes.
Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco who discovered similar results in a just-released study of nursing homes in California, said the current pandemic is exposing problems that have persisted for decades.
“We’ve just looked the other way for 30 years,” she said. “There is no excuse for having that many deaths,” said Harrington, who has studied nursing homes for decades. “Nursing homes are less than one-half of 1% of the population and yet they’re accounting for all these deaths.”
When COVID hit, policymakers and political leaders neglected nursing homes. Harrington said, “If these nursing homes had had the right staffing and had PPE and had enforcement of what nursing homes should be doing, we wouldn’t have had all these deaths.
Short-staffing and lack of resources is an industry-wide problems. If we want to protect our loved ones and vulnerable adults, we need to increase staffing levels to safe minimum level of 4.1 hours per patient day.