This is probably no surprise to anyone as it is happening all over in healthcare when the for profits move in and cut down to bare bones sometimes.  Back in November of 2010 the GAO stated that they could not get enough data from the homes owned by private equity firms, although I could bet there might be plenty of “revenue cycling” data laying around perhaps.  That is what seems to take priority today, revenue cycling over care. 

General Accounting Office Questions Nursing Homes Owned By Private Equity Firms–Lack of Data To Evaluate Care and Safety

We had one situation here in California that got so bad with the financial side that they exhausted their insurance coverage for legal cases and fines so according to this latest report things are not moving along much better.  Medicare cuts to nursing homes don’t help either. 

Skilled Healthcare Group Gets Court Verdict of Not Meeting Minimum Nursing Home Standards in California And May Not Be Able to Appeal– Skilled Healthcare’s Liability Insurance Has Been Exhausted For This Year So Now What?

So what do we do, put all the residents on Facebook to talk about the conditions with an HHS Facebook program?  I say this in jest as we have some nutty folks out there that think giving away any privacy you have left and developing an app is going to save the world, when in fact folks are more likely to use it the wrong way but denial keeps this possibility from surfacing.  Again, lack of executives in how data is used and evaluated is a huge problem today and thus we get the somewhat digital illiterates making whacked out decision like this, a contest so maybe HHS can work and get some Facebook pills?  This is is so ridiculous and again shows “non participation” with executives in general consumer Health IT, otherwise they would know better.  Facebook is not the one and only cure all with some new algorithms for goodness sakes, but non participants can’t tell the difference. 

HHS Seems To Be Confused on Social Networks–Facebook for Disaster Support Contest, Give Me a Break Use Twitter Like Everyone Else Does

I don’t see any Facebook pills or Twitter clinics coming to the rescue here with reality. Hospice isn’t looking much better for that matter, so what do we do there, get the patients in the nursing homes a scribe for their Facebook application use??  It was stated yesterday that the new privacy on Facebook doesn’t apply for apps so your bare bottom is still somewhat hanging out there. 

For Profit Hospices Versus Non Profit Painting a Picture of Potential Cherry Picking-Could Happen With Data Created From Risk Assessment Analytics Algorithms-Study

So instead of seeing what the reality is we just look at aggregated numbers and ask “how’s that happening”…analytics are good and make us smarter but they are not the answer when action is need but rather should direct us into the areas that need to be addressed, like the GAO is trying to do here.  Anyway, if we could all get on the same path and use analytics a bit better and stop with some of the nonsense, perhaps progress would be made.  BD 

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Brian Lee, Executive Director of Families for Better Care, called the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) findings related to the quality of care in for-profit nursing homes acquired by private investment firms “predictably appalling.”

“It is troubling to learn that even with the preponderance of quality improvement initiatives, ombudsman advocacy work and government inspections (which providers often claim as ‘burdensome’ and ‘overregulating’) deficiencies continue to spike in these homes”

Findings showed that overall deficiencies swelled, direct care staffing declined and profit margins ticked higher.

“It is troubling to learn that even with the preponderance of quality improvement initiatives, ombudsman advocacy work and government inspections (which providers often claim as ‘burdensome’ and ‘overregulating’) deficiencies continue to spike in these homes,” said Lee. “It seems everyone knows that nursing home quality hinges on a high number of well-trained, direct care staff…everyone that is, but the nursing home industry.”

The report (GAO-11-571) is the second government report that stems from a 2007 New York Times critique of the management of care and services conducted by private investment (PI) firms of massive nursing home conglomerates. The Times reported that resident care suffered in part from cutbacks on nurse staffing to increase profitability.

The new report also revealed that serious deficiencies went down and registered nursing hours went up. “It is encouraging to learn that serious deficiencies are declining in some of these nursing homes. This translates into fewer residents experiencing the agony of improperly treated bed sores, fewer medication errors and fewer resident elopements,” said Lee.

But Lee and his group remain cautious about the mixed results, calling them “illusory.


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