The Consumer Voice recently published an insightful update of a report entitled: The High Cost of Poor Care-The Cost-Effectiveness of Good Care Practices. The summary message of the information hearkens back to the old reality that it is often much more frugal to spend some money to prevent problems that will ultimately cost much more to fix later on. As Benjamin Franklin put it: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The adage applies well to the cost of Illinois nursing home abuse and the possible federal budget cuts being proposed to our nursing home system. As we have often discussed here, the proposed Medicaid cuts, quality standard reductions, and easing of regulations will undoubtedly have effects on the quality of care provided to our nursing home residents.
The financial savings of these cuts will ultimately pale in comparison to the costs that must be paid to fix the consequences of poor care. For example, cuts to nursing assistants will mean that residents will be repositioned less to relieve pressure and the severely disabled with have less aid in eating and drinking. As a result, costly medical care will be required to treat advanced pressure sores and the consequences of malnutrition and dehydration. The cost of employing those nursing assistants is much less than the extra medical care that will be required.
Of course this is not even taking into account the physical and emotional toll that the cuts have on nursing home residents and their loved ones. Yet, even when ignoring those important factors, the financial concerns alone dictate a more mature approach. As attractive as immediate budget cuts may seem to budget strapped public bodies, the overall financial effect must be evaluated before nursing home care is sliced.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti are proud to represent the victims of nursing home neglect. Even at current budget levels, the quality of care at far too many facilities is ghastly. Policymakers must ensure that they not worsen that care even more-no financial savings will be found and the life of thousands of residents will be quantifiably worse.
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