Nursing homes are cited by health department inspectors when the nursing homes fail to live up to basic safety rules and regulations. When a nursing home receives a citation for a problem, the expectation is that the facility will take steps to correct the issue so vulnerable seniors in their care will not continue to be at risk due to the substandard conditions. When nursing homes fail to correct problems, this is a form of nursing home abuse and neglect which can often have tragic consequences for residents of the facilities.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes do fail to fix problems once they are identified by safety and health inspectors. Democrat and Chronicle recently published an in-depth review of how nursing home respond to citations. While the review was focused on nursing homes in one particular state, research suggests similar problems are widespread in locations throughout the country, as nursing home operators simply fail to meet basic minimum requirements when it comes to providing an acceptable level of patient care.
Nursing Homes Failing to Fix Problems & Putting Seniors at Risk
Among the nursing homes included in the Democrat and Chronicle's review, 34 nursing homes were cited for 768 total violations of state and federal regulations between 2012 and 2015. In total, 38 percent of the citations were repeat offenses, as the nursing home had previously been cited for violating the same regulation when subject to a previous inspection.
Commonly cited regulations, many of which nursing homes violated repeatedly, included failure to implement and follow protocols for investing abuse; eliminating accident hazards from the nursing home; providing care according to each resident's care plan; ensuring qualified persons provide care; and maintaining patient records for medication. These are serious lapses, not just minor problems with paperwork.
The research from Democrat and Chronicle indicated the needs of nursing home residents affect the potential for deficiencies in quality of care. When residents are more severely ill or are chronically ill, more services are necessary and more documentation is mandated to ensure these especially vulnerable patients are being properly cared for. These added requirements are essential to protecting safety, and the fact so many nursing homes have trouble complying means many of the most high-risk seniors are the ones who suffer the most due to substandard care.
One nursing home owner whose home was cited for 83 deficiencies blamed low Medicaid reimbursement rates and said a high population of residents on Medicaid was a big contributing reason why the nursing home was failing to provide a safe living environment. He indicated: "A certain threshold of care requires a certain threshold of reimbursement."
While it may be necessary for the government to reevaluate Medicaid reimbursement rates if it is truly impossible to provide acceptable care to seniors based on the repayment amounts, nursing homes should not be in business if they cannot provide an acceptable level of care to their residents with the money they have coming in.