Lawyer Resources for Nursing Home Chains

Nursing Home FinesIt is a reasonable assumption for many people that nursing homes caught in the act of neglecting patient needs, disregarding safety standards and limiting their staff to levels deemed inadequate that fines and sanctions would be a deterrent from future abuses. This would be logical if the fines themselves had teeth and enforcement was both quick and consistent. For many states, however, this is not the case and civil litigation has become the only major deterrent left to motivate nursing chains into improving the quality of the care they provide. Lobbying has helped insulate many chains in certain states through the implementation of caps on compensation so that even civil action is becoming a less effective vehicle toward change.

Pennsylvania Auditor Offers Key Criticism Concerning Sanctions and Enforcement

As lawmakers in Illinois consider a bill that would propose prohibiting anonymous nursing home complaints, Pennsylvania is emerging from a three year trial of an identical measure which ended in failure. The number of nursing home complaints dropped by two thirds when the ban on anonymous complaints went into effect and the use of fines and other punitive measures was scrutinized by the state’s Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale.

Profits in Nursing HomesNursing homes are big business that provide valuable investing opportunities for private equity firms around the world. While not a glamorous business, nursing home chains can make money. In 2009, the U.S. nursing home industry provided more than $104 billion worth of health care to the elderly, infirm, rehabilitating and disabled. This number was up substantially by more than 20 percent just four years before. As the baby booming aging population grows larger every year, the demand for health care in nursing facilities is expected to grow substantially in the decades ahead.

A Profitable Private Equity Investment

Statistics indicate that nursing facilities owned by private equity investors pay more, albeit smaller, fines and receive more citations for a greater number of deficiencies then other for-profit facilities. In addition, these homes tend to have fewer registered nurses on the medical team, which tends to negatively impact residents. The nursing home care industry run by for-profit companies have long had tumultuous issues, especially multi-facility chains where the size of the parent company and their geographical scope nationwide facilities makes it difficult to control serious problems that each individual nursing home.

 Large-For-Profit-Nursing-Home-Chains-Declining-Levels-of-Care-Increases-In-Patient -Injury The entire purpose of any for-profit corporation is to make money and to continuously implement new strategies that will increase profit and reduce expenses. How far is too far though when a company puts its own needs above those of the people it serves? The ten largest for-profit nursing care companies were put to the test last year in a study that compared their care to that of government agencies and not-for-profit homes. Researchers were alarmed at just how stark the contrast was between nursing facilities that existed to make a profit and those that didn’t— and the results did not favor the for-profit homes.

Ten Nursing Home Companies that Only Care About Profit 

After evaluating multiple government sponsored nursing homes and not-for-profit care facilities and comparing the results to the following companies, it was determined that the level of care shown by these companies failed to equal the care that patients received in homes that were not out for financial gain. Each of these companies failed to live up to their not-for-profit counterparts’ levels of care.

Options to Keep Loved Ones Safe from Abuse in FacilitiesThere is a lot of anxiety and unfamiliar aspects to deal with if someone we care about enters into a nursing home facility. We wonder whether they will be comfortable, whether they will make new friends, but we should not have to worry about whether they will be safe. Families of nursing home residents in South Carolina now no longer have to worry about that as much.

More about the bill

The Electronic Monitoring of a Resident’s Room in a Long-Term Care Facility bill would make it possible for residents who want to place a camera in their room to do so. The bill ensures that facilities make accommodations for those patients who make such a request. It also offers penalties for those staff members who tamper with the equipment or the camera itself.

Nursing Home Negligence Verdict To StandA nursing home facility in Kanawha County West Virginia recently lost its appeal to reconsider a sizable verdict awarded in a case that went to trial two years earlier. The lawsuit investigates whether the limits established for medical malpractice apply to nursing homes. It borders on whether the defendant, HCR Manor Care, looked to garner more profits by withholding staff to cut costs.

The Charges against HCR Manor Care

In 2009, a facility owned by HCR Manor Car, LLC took charge for an 87- year old woman. Just 19 days after admittance, the elderly lady died of dehydration. The lawsuit filed by her son claims that there were a number of abuses on his mother during her short stay at the nursing home

is-there-a-shortage-of-nursing-homesAs baby boomers approach retirement age and there are less and less nursing homes being opened and more closing, it is concerning if there will be a shortage of these facilities in the next few decades. In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 78.6 million baby boomers in the U.S., many who will be in their 70’s by 2020, only seven short years away. Will there be enough nursing homes to handle the need when this large group requires full time care?

Elderly Numbers Rise, Nursing Homes Diminish

By 2030, 20% of the nations population will be above 65 years of age, compared to only 13% currently. In addition, the number of 85-year olds will be up 50%. However, the number of nursing homes has decreased in the last decade. From 2000-2009, the total number of nursing homes decreased by 9%. There has been a large decrease not only in the total number of homes but on the amount of new construction of these homes. From 2007-2011, new construction of nursing home units decreased by a third. There are several factors that are contributing to the problem:

Listing Of The Best Nursing HomesMaybe I should blame David Letterman who ingrained the ‘top 10 list’ into our minds on a daily basis? It seems everywhere we turn there’s a listing of the best or worst– restaurants, hotels, microwaves, airlines– and of course nursing homes.

While these lists may be incredibly convenient and even useful in making decisions about where to place a loved one in need of skilled nursing care, as I lawyer who has seen what life is really like in these facilities I am always cringe a little when I see these annual listing of facilities released as I know that seeing (or not seeing) a facility on the list may falsely give a family a sense or relief or fear.

This year’s version of U.S. News & World Report Best Nursing Homes can be accessed here. You can conveniently look up facilities by State or Zip Code to determine the highest rated facilities in your area.  After punching in your criteria, the website will give you a listing of facilities in a ranking hierarchy according to factors such as: nursing home safety, health inspections and staffing. Depending on the information available, you can also access recent inspection report and contact information for the facility.

Nursing Care for the DisabledFor many disabled people, Medicare did not cover their skilled nursing expenses due to the type of condition they had and their ability to improve. Until recently, Medicare did not cover medical expenses related to ongoing care needed just to maintain their condition, not improve it. It took a landmark lawsuit case and a strong, disabled woman by the name of Glenda Jimmo heading it to make the change possible.

Jimmo v. Sebelius

The case that has made this change was started in part by Glenda Jimmo, a disabled woman with diabetes that has had a challenging life. Blind since she was 19, her disease has also taken one of her legs below the knee and left her in a wheelchair. Since her condition was not deemed improvable, many nursing needs could not be covered under Medicare.

Sun Healthcare Group (SUNH)Picture-65 is one of the larger nursing home companies in the U.S. with inpatient facilities in 25 states with over 23,000 beds. Based out of Irvine, California, this major conglomerate has several units and subdivision that range from behavioral health to hospice care and medical staffing. The company is reportedly to be acquired by Genesis Healthcare in 2012.


Sun Healthcare has 199 locations operating under SunBridge Healthcare. Most of these locations are either in the western states or the mid eastern region of the county. Western states include their home state of California and the surrounding states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado. The eastern states include Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Picture-61Since 1981, Sunrise Senior Living has been providing health care to seniors and those in need of assisted living. Now Sunrise is an international company with over 31,000 units in three countries: the U.S., Canada and the UK. They are based in McLean, Virginia and offer a variety of healthcare facilities.


Around the world, Sunrise Senior Living has over 300 facilities dedicated to assisting those in need of living assistance. In the U.S., it has over 40,000 beds in almost every state in the U.S, with over 30 states having locations. Locations are coast to coast, with facilities in California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida to name a few.

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