According to Jennifer Smith's article in The Wall Street Journal on October 3, 2014, lawyers have discovered a get-rich scheme as America ages: suing for-profit nursing home chains.
As defined in the appendix of my book, ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS, skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes) may be for-profit or non-profit and are licensed by each state. Professional nurses, social workers, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, doctors, and clergy are on staff.
Attorneys are now filing neglect and abuse cases which allege, typically, that "patients were harmed not just by neglect or medical errors but because the corporate owners skimped on patient care to boost profits" in large chains of for-profit nursing homes.
Operators of the facilities are already grappling with falling reimbursement rates from the government. The increase in litigation is prompting some chains to abandon certain states where there are limited or nonexistent curbs on non-economic damages. Lawsuits that elsewhere might be settled for $50,000 can generate much larger settlements or verdicts.
Large for-profit facilities are more likely to be cited for severe health deficiencies, despite beefing up staff and making other improvements, according to data from Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services.
The lawyers take the cases on a contingency basis, paying upfront costs in exchange for a cut - up to 45% - of any settlement or award, plus expenses.
"If you have a good case," attorney Brian Reddick said, "jurors are very sympathetic."
The October 3, 2014, Wall Street Journal also reported that Medicare will cut payments to 2610 hospitals across the country, because too many patients were readmitted within thirty days, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.
The hospitals selected will see Medicare reimbursements reduced from .01% to 3% for every beneficiary they treat from October 1, '14, to September 30, '15.
The penalties will save Medicare an estimated $428 million, a spokesman for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.
The Obama Administration has emphasized reducing readmission to hospitals to reduce Medicare spending and spur hospitals to pay more attention to patients who are being discharged "quicker and sicker."
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.