Nursing Home Profit Motive

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While many people would like to think that some places are exempt from this fact, the truth is that money makes the world go round, nursing homes not excluded. There are few nursing homes in existence today that are non-profit organizations, and any time money is a major contributing factor to an organization, regardless of the types of services offered, there lies a potential for disaster.

There are generally two ways for a company to increase its profit. The first way that a company can do this is by increasing revenue. Nursing homes are able to accomplish this goal by taking in more residents. Many nursing homes have too many occupants without sufficient staff to care for them. Nursing homes must abide by specific resident-to-staff ratios in order to be in compliance with federal regulations. Yet, in the year 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that over 56 percent of nursing homes in the country fell below the minimum staffing requirements mandated by the federal government. These staffing requirements referred to licensed individuals employed in nursing homes. In efforts to increase revenue, nursing homes are overworking staff, in overcrowded conditions, at the expense of senior citizens. As a result, senior citizens' health and well-being are suffering.

The second way to increase profits is to reduce expenditures. One of the methods that a nursing home may employ to decrease expenses is to order products in no-name bulk packages. Products like fruits, vegetables, chips, and water are purchased in this manner. Many nursing homes, in their efforts to deceive family members of residents, also include responsible party clauses in admissions papers. Family members assume they are signing papers which make them primary contacts in cases of emergency. In reality, nursing homes are holding these individuals liable for additional charges not covered by insurance companies. By law, a nursing home cannot force an individual to pay additional charges incurred after admission papers are signed. With these obstacles, nursing homes are finding deceitful ways to cover these costs.

When attempting to increase profits, other related problems have developed in nursing homes. Discrimination is a commonly overlooked factor that arises behind closed walls. For example, residents insured by Medicare and Medicaid are sometimes neglected, because nursing homes receive limited amounts of reimbursements from these companies. As a result, nursing homes may provide insufficient care to these patients.

Gaining capital can, sadly, become the primary focus of these institutions, and as a result senior care greatly diminishes. Malnutrition, bed sores, overdosing prescription medications, neglect, physical abuse, and unsanitary living conditions are among the most common complaints in nursing homes. If you or your family have experienced any of these problems, there are steps you can take to seek justice. The first thing for you to do is contact a lawyer. Attorneys for elder abuse and neglect are your best resources, and many offer free consultations to review your case. If you notice unexplained injuries or bruises, visible infections, or a drastic change in mood or behavior in your loved ones who reside in a nursing home, or if a nursing home resident you know has suffered from a sudden, unexpected death, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. These attorneys are specialized in this field and can help you understand your rights and the rights of your loved ones.


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