Profits grow as quality of care declines

Here is an article showing how profitable the nursing home industry actually is while the insurance companies are requesting immunity and protection from their neglect and abuse.

Robust Financial Standing Of California Nursing Homes Observed Amid Slump In Quality Care
Vittorio Hernandez – AHN News Writer

A study released Tuesday reported growing profitability of the nursing home industry, but declining health care quality.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco found out that two years after the state passed legislation increasing reimbursements from Medi-Cal, average nursing home income from the state’s healthcare program went up to $152 from $124 daily.

The same study discovered 16 percent of nursing homes in the state failed to measure up to California’s minimum staffing benchmarks. A minimal rise in average salary for nursing assistants by less than one dollar was not sufficient to cover inflation rate increases. Even higher-paid nurses had a fast turnover rate, with 7 in 10 resigning from their jobs in 2006.

But average spending on direct patient care went down by 3.6 percent, while complaints of patient mistreatment proven went up by 36 percent.  Charlene Harrington, the lead author of the study, wrote as her comment, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, “They got so much money, they should have been able to do something.”

California nursing homes bolstered their bottom lines with $590 million that state lawmakers provided them to better tend to the poor, while patient care declined by several key measures such as turnover among nurses increased slightly, with nearly 7 in 10 leaving their jobs that year, the amount nursing homes spent on direct patient care actually decreased by 3.6%, and substantiated complaints of patient mistreatment increased by 38%. State and federal regulators cited homes for 6% more violations.  Said Michael Connors of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a patient watchdog group, “to a great degree, no one knows where the money went and how it was used. What’s clear is it hasn’t been used for beneficial effects on residents, which is appalling.”