Patients falling out of wheelchairs, taking medicine meant for their neighbor, or being bullied by staff members are nightmare situations that should never occur at a nursing home. Nursing homes face fines and restrictions when they violate safety rules in order to prevent these things from happening. Unfortunatelyand outrageouslymany homes continue to violate patients’ safety over and over, despite these punishments.

According to U.S. health data in 2014, there were 528 nursing homes that were put on “special focus,” a kind of probation for nursing homes that have repeat safety offenses. Homes under special focus must get their act together or else lose funding from Medicare and Medicaid. To graduate from special status, nursing homes need to pass two inspections that often take place within the same year. Once a nursing home has passed special status, it is unlikely to be re-added to the list. In fact, the number of special status nursing homes allowed on this list has recently decreased, despite the uptick in repeat offenses and the lack of impact fines seem to have.

Most nursing homes on special focus graduate from the program without losing funding. Of these homes, 52% have continued to harm patients, and one-third are still rated just one star by Medicare’s health and safety ratings. One home, profiled by Kaiser Health News, has racked up over $100,000 in fines after graduating from special focus status and still remains open.

Endangering residents is unacceptable. See the complete article and a list of homes under special focus at Kaiser Health News.

If you are planning for a nursing home or long-term care, call me for help with funding, Medicaid planning, and finding a safe place to stay. For Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, and Veterans Benefits contact Glenn R. Matecun by calling (517) 548-7400 in Livingston County and (586) 751-0779 in Macomb County.

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