January 1, 2012

Nursing Home Operator Receives State Funds Even After Care Lapses

by Levin & Perconti

The New York Times shed light on a troubling issue last week related to the funneling of public funds to long-term care institutions which have a track record of nursing home abuse and neglect. It should seem logical for public bodies to demand that those who receive taxpayer dollars to care for those with developmental disabilities and seniors to provide a reasonable level of care free of abuse and neglect. If mistreatment is continually provided it should have consequences that affect their bottom line. Yet, that is often not the case.

The New York Times story discussed one organization that provides care to the developmentally disabled which has remained on the state payroll after years of care lapses and shocking mismanagement. The facility provides care to vulnerable children, including those with autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Over the past several decades the organization had more citations for nursing home neglect than any other facility in the state. The citations were of the most serious variety—those which risked severe harm to the residents. Inspection data from the last six years found that the home was cited dozens of times for problems which resulted in harm to the young residents or could have. The total number of citation rate was literally 2000% higher than that of most facilities of the same size in the state. Clearly there are severe problems at this home.

Not only was the caregiving problematic, but the internal management f the facility seemed to be in disarray. The facility filed for bankruptcy twice in the 1990s. At one point it owed the IR $3 million in back taxes. Its executive officer was once charged criminally for embezzling over $2 million from the home—money which ultimately came from taxpayers. Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer know that that the situation at this facility is akin to those elsewhere: nursing home administrators prioritizing money in their own pocket over care provided to those who rely on them.

Logical observers would likely argue that state officials, after learning of the financial problems and caregiving lapses, would do everything in their power to ensure taxpayer funds were not wasted in this way again. Yet, records indicate that the state never once sought to remove itself from the troubled facility. It continues to pay the home more than $20 million every year in Medicaid funds.

Analysts explain that the problem is rooted in a failure on the state’s part to provide proper oversight of these largest facilities. The Illinois nursing home attorneys at our firms have frequently explained that nonprofit facilities usually provide better care on average than for profit nursing home chains. However, that does not mean all nonprofit homes provide perfect care or that state officials do not need to work hard on accountability measures to keep the level of care high at nonprofit homes. In particular, when a nonprofit grows quickly into large multi-million dollar enterprises, it is important that they be tracked so that they do not fall back on practices which are seen in nursing home conglomerates—maximizing profits no matter what the cost.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Levin & Perconti File New Nursing Home Lawsuit Against Lakeview Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Negligent Illinois Nursing Homes Identified By Federal Regulators