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Survey Shows Long-Term Caregivers are in Short Supply
Over the next 20 years, the country will see a surge in the number of older adults who can no longer care for themselves, as will the number of persons diagnosed with dementia. A sizable amount of these two groups are likely to need long-term care services, one being the age 85 and older population — which is expected to double between 2025 and 2040. And a new report from our Midwest neighbors to the north is showing the most grimace future for an ongoing issue we have in Illinois as well. According to a new report based on a survey of long-term care providers in Wisconsin, vacancies for caregivers increased with nearly 1 in 4 openings going unfilled.

“In the future if there continues to be vacancy rates, there may be concerns down the road about the possible closure of some long-term care facilities,” said John Vander Meer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Health Care Association and the Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living.

Summary of Long-Term Caregiver Survey Results

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More Than 100 Illinois Nursing Homes Named in Final Violators Report of 2019

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its final and Fourth Quarter Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2019 highlighting nursing homes that failed to comply with mandatory state regulations. This report dates October 2019 through December 2019. It highlights 111 Illinois facilities, an increase from 71 in the third quarter. The facilities were cited for various violations of the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

Illinois facilities with violations in quarter four of 2019 include:

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Nursing Home Resident Evictions Continue Due to Medicaid Funding

Nationally, long-term care ombudsmen, who advocate for elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, received 10,610 complaints about discharges and transfers in 2017, up from 9,192 in 2015. Many of these complaints arise when a facility asks or pressures a resident to leave with “no due process rights, no notice” even though an advanced notice is required.

We agree with the importance of the recent news report by NBC launched over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, that some nursing home facilities illegally evict residents when their Medicaid funding runs short and replace them with short-stay Medicare residents. Still, unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities that discharge residents improperly isn’t anything new to us at Levin & Perconti. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates, “as many as one-third of all residents in long-term care facilities are involuntarily discharged.” We have been sharing concerns and representing families on this issue for some time.

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How to Find Out If Your Parent’s Nursing Home Has a History of Abuse or Neglect?

Choosing a long-term care facility for your parent can feel completely overwhelming and the decision-making process is often stressful on the entire family. Thankfully, beginning October 23, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is making a much-needed change to how families can be better informed of Illinois nursing homes that have been cited for violations related to abuse, neglect and exploitation. The Nursing Home Compare tool will now include a bright red “abuse icon” next to these troublesome homes.

If you’ve already got a particular facility in mind, or have a loved one who is currently a nursing home resident, you can also use the medicare.gov site to look more closely at your choice or to check into any concerns or suspicions.

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Residents’ Rights Advocates Invite You to “Stand For Quality” This October

Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, and facility staff will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.

The theme for Residents’ Rights Month 2019 is, “Stand for Quality” – to emphasize the importance of standing for quality in all aspects of residents’ experiences – quality care, quality of life, quality services, and quality choices.  The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti invite our community to use this opportunity to push for the rights of those they care about to be known and protected while residing in an Illinois long-term care facility.

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Delays by Illinois’s Medicaid Program Creates Ongoing Demise of Non-Profit Nursing Home Operator and Its Former Residents 

It has been nearly 12 months since Pleasant Hill Village in Girard was forced to close citing a lack of Medicaid funds and backlog of the payment reimbursement process as the cause. Last year, the state of Illinois admitted to the multi-million Medicaid eligibility delay that makes it difficult for long term care coverage applications to be processed and payments made to Illinois skilled nursing facility operators. Pleasant Hill Village is now declaring bankruptcy on the disruptions and inability to pay debts and vendors, according to a report by The State Journal-Register.

Here is a recap of the August 16, 2019 news article:

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Nursing Home Chain Failures Highlight a Greater Need for Ownership Regulation and Closer Government Review 

Some of the most troubling elder abuse and neglect stories stemmed from nursing home private ownership in the U.S. recently emerged thanks to an NBC News investigation featuring a man named Joseph Schwartz and his responsibilities over nursing home and long-term care facility chain, Skyline Healthcare. The mogul swiftly built his empire out of a small New Jersey office and then across the Midwest. It failed miserably leaving life-long pain and suffering for more 7,000 elderly Americans in more than 100 facilities in 11 states.

Massachusetts: Schwartz told staff there was no more money to fund all of his nursing homes or to pay them. The care team was buying toilet paper with personal funds to help residents. Patients were left for days in their feces due to staffing cuts and no one to help them. When some of the homes closed, 60 residents had nowhere to go, and family members were left uninformed of their loved one’s displacement. In March of 2019, the final three former Skyline Healthcare nursing homes in Massachusetts were closed and placed in receivership after Schwartz agreed to surrender licenses.

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List of 22 Seriously Under-Performing Nursing Homes in Illinois Released Publicly for First Time 

After an inquiry led by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, overseen by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), shared a list of nearly 400 consistently underperforming nursing homes, 22 of which are located throughout Illinois. Previously CMS did not publicly disclose the names and locations of these SFF identified facilities. These are nursing homes that if not improved or fail to provide resolutions to documented quality problems, can be cut off by Medicare and Medicaid funding and support.

On June 3, 2019, the concerned lawmakers published the list in a public report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, and included all of the homes CMS has deemed to have a “persistent record of poor care” and systemic shortcomings.

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Viral Photo Shows Nursing Home Resident Covered in Vomit, Begging for Help

In October of 2018, a visitor at Legend Oaks Healthcare in San Antonio, Texas was witness to an older woman, left in a wheelchair and covered in vomit, begging for help for several hours in a nursing room hallway.

The man who took the photo was not connected to the woman who battles dementia but said he was so disturbed by the resident’s situation he wanted to share the documented encounter with local News4 in San Antonio. The observer told the reporters that instead of helping clean the woman he saw employees throw towels at her and around her as she begged for help, hours on end.

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The Problem with Easing Regulations That Protect Nursing Home Residents

Several new policies were created to safeguard residents in 2014 setting nursing homes up for better accountability, such as fining violating nursing homes each day until problems were fixed and publicly exposing a facility when residents report care complaints. But since 2016, regulation on the rules nursing homes have to follow in order to collect Medicare or Medicaid dollars has seen a risky overhaul, marking the new administration responsible for the removal of several health and safety regulations essential to protecting residents.

These rules were intended to dictate how nursing homes operate, and the group’s inspections and surveys are designed to spur change and compliance through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is the federal agency tasked with the oversight and regulation of over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. In August 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an alert that CMS has inadequate procedures to identify and report incidents of abuse or neglect to law enforcement.

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