Where Will Nursing Home Residents Go When Medicare Closes Dangerous Facilities?

I was reviewing the AARPBulletintoday, and they ran a story about Kentucky nursing home that was cited for reports of alleged nursing home abuse and neglect by nursing state nursing home inspectors.  Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation received a Type A citation- the most serious nursing home citation a state can give– for problems related to ‘medical errors’ and consequently the federal government will terminate its Medicare / Medicaid funding.

According to Kathy Gannoe, executive director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass, prior to issuance of the Type A citation, the Winchester received 31 resident complaints in the past three months, and that 86% of the complaints had apparently been resolved.

When Medicare Closes Dangerous FacilitiesWinchester is a 183-bed facility that has received 1 out of 5 stars from according to Medicare ratings, putting the facility in the ‘much below average’ category.  Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation is owned by Kindred Healthcare.  To those who may not be familiar with Kindred, it is a multi-service health care conglomerate that owns and operates hospitals, nursing centers, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities throughout the country.

As of February 7th, when the Medicare contract with Kindred officially terminates, Winchester will no longer be certified to provide care to government aid recipients.  Consequently, the Medicare recipients at Winchester will have to relocate to other Medicare approved facilities.

But where will the residents go? The closure of facility deemed to have safety violations may seem like a good idea, but the closure of a Medicare-funded facility really just puts additional strain other other facilities forced to pick up the slack.  In Kentucky, more than 400 nursing home beds allocated for Medicaid recipients have been lost over the past year.  According to Gannoe, the closing of another facility would be “a very serious problem for consumers,” and “a disaster for Central Kentucky.”

About Medicare / Medicaid Funding Of Nursing Homes

Medicare provides an essential service for both residents and facilities.  For residents, Medicare (and Medicaid) provide not only the the funding for their stay at the facility, but the government’s involvement also assures residents that the facility meets the standards set forth by the federal government.  Federal Regulations control all aspects of nursing homes from the type of nursing care provided to residents to the temperature of the food the kitchen prepares. The bottom line is that the regulation is in place to protect the well being of each resident.

In exchange for meeting the standards set forth by the government, nursing homes are paid a daily rate for providing quality care to its residents.  In most cases, government funding comprises close to 90% of a nursing homes stream of revenue.

For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.

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