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Federal Report Claims One-Third of Certified Nursing Homes in Illinois and Elsewhere Provide Substandard Patient Care

According to a report released in February by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, the nation’s Medicare program paid an estimate $5.1 billion to substandard nursing homes in 2009. Although the report did not single out individual facilities, an estimated one-third of patients who moved into a skilled nursing facility in 2009 were cared for by a facility that was not meeting basic federal requirements. The report claims residents in some nursing homes were subjected to dangerous or neglectful circumstances as a result.

The Office of Inspector General’s report was created using a sample of the approximately 1.1 million elderly patient visits to nursing homes funded by Medicare in 2009. The report sampled the medical records of 190 patient visits that lasted at least three weeks at skilled nursing facilities in 42 states. The report claims the overall findings raised questions regarding what services Medicare is actually funding and recommended that the nation’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) begin to tie federal payments to a facility’s ability to meet basic resident care requirements.

Federal law requires all certified skilled nursing facilities to create a written care plan tailored to each resident’s individual needs. Still, many nursing homes are allegedly not only failing to provide patients with the assistance they require, but are instead placing them at risk at the expense of taxpayers. The report alleges that patient health problems were not addressed in about 20 percent of nursing home stays. In addition, many residents reportedly received unnecessary therapies in order to boost the Medicare rate paid to long-term care facilities.

A CMS official stated the agency is currently reviewing its regulations in an effort to improve enforcement at skilled nursing facilities across the country. In addition, CMS agreed to consider whether Medicare payments should be tied to quality of patient care and follow up with the allegedly deficient nursing homes featured in the report. According to a spokesperson for Medicare, Brian Cook, the program has recently made significant changes to the way quality nursing home care is rewarded.

Any nursing home in Illinois that receives federal Medicare or Medicaid payments is considered a certified nursing home and is subject to both state and federal regulation. Although most nursing homes located in the state are certified, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act does not require it. In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health regulates the quality of care provided in all Illinois skilled nursing facilities regardless of the facility’s certified status. If you believe your loved one suffered neglect or abuse at a certified or other nursing home in Illinois, you should discuss your concerns with a quality lawyer.

Give the hardworking attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. a call today at (312) 924-7575 if your friend or family member was harmed or died as a result of the poor care provided by an Illinois skilled nursing facility. Our experienced Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are available 24 hours per day, every day of the week to help you protect the rights of your elderly and disabled relatives. For a free consultation with a dedicated advocate, do not hesitate to contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Madison County Lawsuit Claims Neglect Led to Death of Alton Nursing Home Resident, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 27, 2013
West Suburban Senior Services Opens Elder Abuse Forensic Center in Forest Park, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2013
Additional Resources:

Medicare Paid $5.1 Billion In Taxpayer Dollars For Substandard Nursing Home Care, Report Finds, by Garance Burke, Huffington Post


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