Sad story of how cost cutting affected the chain of nursing homes...nothing here for better health care... only cutting costs to return a dividend for investors...and finally the chain of nursing homes was purchased by GE...which created a $500 million dollar gain...makes you wonder why nursing homes are traded, etc.  Why do we have to make money on caring for seniors..or in this case, not caring...and tie everything up with litigation...have we moved so far from the purpose of nursing homes only to value the dollars made rather than caring for our seniors?  BD

Habana Health Care Center, a 150-bed nursing home in Tampa, Fla., was struggling when a group of large private investment firms purchased it and 48 other nursing homes in 2002.

The facility’s managers quickly cut costs. Within months, the number of clinical registered nurses at the home was half what it had been a year earlier, records collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate. Budgets for nursing supplies, resident activities and other services also fell, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

The investors and operators were soon earning millions of dollars a year from their 49 homes.  Over three years, 15 at Habana died from what their families contend was negligent care in lawsuits filed in state court. Regulators repeatedly warned the home that staff levels were below mandatory minimums. When regulators visited, they found malfunctioning fire doors, unhygienic kitchens and a resident using a leg brace that was broken.

“The first thing owners do is lay off nurses and other staff that are essential to keeping patients safe,” said Charlene Harrington, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco who studies nursing homes. In her opinion, she added, “chains have made a lot of money by cutting nurses, but it’s at the cost of human lives.”.............Soon, Medicare regulators cited Habana for malfunctioning fire doors and moldy air vents.......there were no records showing that staff had checked on him for almost two days.....Last year, Formation sold Habana and 185 other facilities to General Electric for $1.4 billion. A prominent nursing home industry analyst, Steve Monroe, estimates that Formation’s and its co-investors’ gains from that sale were more than $500 million in just four years. Formation declined to comment on that figure.

More Profit and Less Nursing at Many Homes - New York Times


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