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Nursing Homes Bow to Big Money

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Authored by: John M. Cooper

A disturbing trend is emerging across the county regarding the quality of care and treatment that nursing home residents are receiving from nursing home operators. This trend involves the purchase, by wealthy investors, of numerous nursing homes. Upon acquiring these nursing homes as new investments the trend is for the quality of care provided to nursing home residents to fall dramatically. This has given rise to a steep increase in the number of medical negligence law suits being filed by injured nursing home residents or the families of those who have perished at the hands of inadequate care.

A recent article that appeared in the New York Times used the Habana Healthcare Center in Tampa Florida as an example. Habana Healthcare was struggling financially, when it was purchased by a large private investment firm as part of a 48 nursing home acquisition which occurred in 2002. The nursing home managers quickly cut costs and within months, the number of clinical registered nurses at this nursing home was half of what it had been a year earlier. The investors and operators were soon earning millions of dollars a year from their 48 nursing homes.

Residents faired less well. Over three years, 15 nursing home residents at Habana died from what their families contented was negligent care. Habana is one of thousands of nursing homes across the nation that large Wall Street investment companies have bought or have agreed to acquire in recent years. As such investors have acquired nursing homes, they have often reduced costs, increased profits and quickly re-sold facilities for significant gains.

But by many regulatory benchmarks, the residents at those nursing homes are worse off, on average, than they were under previous owners, according to an analysis by the New York Times of data collected by government agencies from 2000 to 2006.

Because of this kind of conduct, the frequency of nursing home medical malpractice cases has sky rocketed. Injured residents and the families of residents from nursing homes who have died are increasingly making these nursing homes stand accountable for their inadequate care in courts across the United States.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Nursing home and Elder Abuse.