A study conducted by the Kaiser Health News, which is a nonprofit news service focused on health issues that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente, found that 74% of nursing homes in the United States have been cited for lapses in infection control, yet only one in 75 nursing homes that were found deficient in infection control during the four-year period studied (2014 to October 2017) were punished by a high-level citation carrying a monetary penalty.
The study’s analysis found that only 133 of California’s 1,251 nursing homes were not cited by inspectors for infection control deficiencies. Nationally, the study found that 7,045 nursing homes have been cited more than once for infection control issues, and 942 nursing homes had four or more infection control violations.
Only 161 of 12,056 nursing homes that were found to have violated infection control requirements were cited as having put their residents in imminent danger as a result of infection-control deficiencies during the four-year period studied.
The study found that Guam had the highest percentage of nursing homes cited for infection control lapses, followed by the District of Columbia, Alaska, South Dakota, Alabama, and Michigan. The states with the least percentage of nursing homes found to have infection control lapses were Rhode Island, Maine, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The Medicare safety rules that were cited as being violated were failure to investigate and control infections and keep them from spreading (involving 12,056 nursing homes and 23,481 citations); failure to store, cook and serve food safely and cleanly (involving 11,438 nursing homes and 20,505 citations); failure to protect residents from accidental hazards (involving 11,148 nursing homes and 23,991 citations); failure to provide necessary care (involving 9,861 nursing homes and 20,196 citations); failure to label and track drugs (involving 8,400 nursing homes and 12,641 citations); failure to manage residents’ medication and avoid unnecessary drugs (involving 8,086 nursing homes and 12,548 citations); failure to develop a complete plan of care (involving 7,939 nursing homes and 13,011 citations); failure to provide care with dignity and respect (involving 6,889 nursing homes and 10,065 citations); failure to keep complete and accurate clinical records (involving 6,732 nursing homes and 11,272 citations); and, failure to investigate reports of mistreatment of residents and not hire people with records of abuse (involving 6,356 nursing homes and 9,719 citations).
Kaiser Health News also recently analyzed federal inspection, staffing, and financial records of nursing homes throughout the United States with regard to the corporate structures of the owners and operators of the nursing homes (specifically, the model of placing nursing homes and related businesses in separate limited liability corporations and partnerships) that found:
– Nursing homes that did business with sister companies employed, on average, 8% fewer nurses and aides;
– As a group, these nursing homes were 9% more likely to have hurt residents or put them in immediate jeopardy of harm, and amassed 53 validated complaints for every 1,000 beds, compared with the 32 per 1,000 that inspectors found credible at independent homes; and,
– Nursing homes with related companies were fined 22% more often for serious health violations than were independent homes, and penalties averaged 7% higher ($24,441).
The Kaiser Health News analysis stated: “For-profit nursing homes employ these related corporations more frequently than nonprofits do, and have fared worse than independent for-profit homes in fines, complaints and staffing, the analysis found. Their fines averaged $25,345, which was 10 percent higher than fines for independent for-profits, and the homes received 24 percent more substantiated complaints from residents. Overall staffing was 4 percent lower than at independent for-profits.”
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in the United States due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or nursing home fraud, you should promptly contact a local nursing home claim attorney in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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