At their most basic level, fines imposed against nursing homes for negligent care of patients serve to both punish facilities for situations that may have developed in the past and to serve as a way of prodding facilities to improve the care they dispense— or else they will face similar sanctions again if the problems persist.
If all goes according to plan, facilities that receive a fine will stop, pause– and think about the type of care that they provide to patients because the fine imposed against them remains enough of a sting for the facility to improve its patient care.
The trouble that I continually see with the overwhelming number of monetary fines imposed against nursing homes is that the fines are rarely commensurate with the degree of inadequate care provided. Moreover, when the fines imposed against offending nursing homes are evaluated in the context of a facilities business operations, they amount to little more than the cost of doing business.
Poor care, meager fines
Perhaps a recent string of fines imposed the Connecticut Department of Health against several nursing homes in the state is about as good an example of these simply inadequate fines as one can find?
***According to a recent article in The Middletown Press, the DPH handed over the following fines.
- $650 to a Aurora Senior Living of Cromwell after a patient patient choked to death on marshmellows. The patient was known to have dysphagia and the treating physician ordered that the patient was not to receive solid foods.
- $600 fine imposed The Apple Rehabilitation West Haven following a state investigation where 15 patients with various ailments were not given their prescribed medications for approximately one year.
- $510 to New London Rehabilitation and Care of Waterford after a patient was injured during a transfer with a Hoyer lift.
- $815 following a situation at Masonic Health Center of Wallingford involving two residents who were injured while being transported improperly in wheelchairs and for the drastic weight loss in two other patients.
- $510 when staff at Apple Rehabilitation Laurel Woods of East Haven transferred a patient in the bathroom with one staff member when their care plan indicated that they were to be transferred with two employees
From the perspective of acting as a deterrent, regulatory agencies and legislatures need begin flexing far more regulatory muscle— or episodes of poor care such as this will always plague the industry.
Maybe some of these state agencies need to confer with officials at the NBA, who seem quite capable of using fines to get players behavior in line with the leagues values? Incidentally, no elderly people were neglected, abused or injured in relation to these incidents.
- $25,000 fine imposed a against a player who posted the photo of a scatily clad woman on Twitter.
- $35,000 fine to a player who was either licking blood off an injured finger or gesturing to the crowd
- $500,000 fine to the owner of an NBA team who issued a one sentence response to a fan during the NBA lockout
- $40,000 fine to Kobe Bryant for missing to appearences during and All-Star Game weekend
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