Articles Posted in Long Term Care Insurance

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Today great progress was made in advancing the rights of Illinois nursing home residents and their families. The good news comes in the form of House Bill #5213, which has the potential to improve nursing home care in Illinois by demanding accountability from Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities as a prerequisite to obtaining and retaining a license.

Currently, 20% of Illinois nursing homes don’t carry liability insurance. This means many Illinois nursing home residents who are abused and neglected in nursing homes cannot be compensated for injuries they suffer from a nursing home’s wrongdoing. Furthermore, facilities are not even required to notify residents and their families that they are uninsured.

Today, the House Human Services committee passed HB 5213 sponsored by Representative David Miller. HB 5213 provides that no person may establish, operate, maintain, offer, or advertise a long-term care facility unless they provide the Department of Public Health with proof of liability insurance in an amount not less than $1 million. HB 5213 also reinstates a provision that was removed from the statutes in 1995 that provides that a licensee shall pay treble damages (the greater of three times the actual amount of damages or $500) in addition to costs and attorney’s fees when the rights of a resident are violated.

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Re: “At Many Homes, More Profit and Less Nursing” (article, Sept. 23, 2007)

To the Editor:

The abysmal conditions at corporate nursing homes are a case study in what happens when profits are put ahead of human beings.

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A statement was issued by the President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC) in response to the New York Times Article released on Sunday in which the AQNHC surprisingly refuses to condemn the practice of providing less than quality care while simultaneously using corporate shells to operate long-term care facilities and avoid accountability. The AQNHC, a group committed to improving the quality of long-term care nationwide, takes the unsupported position that care in America’s nursing homes is improving overall, noting that the New York Times focused their analysis on only 10% of our nation’s nursing homes.

The AQNHC does not deny that care is being sacrificed at these private equity owned homes, nor do they condemn this practice. Further, AQNHC is non-responsive to the issue of accountability where the owners of long-term care facilities – those who reap the profits – are not held accountable for bad care.

Is the AQNHC applauding this practice or not responding at all? One would expect an organization that is engaged in improving care in our nation’s nursing homes to condemn a practice by profit seekers who cut resident services and staff, decreasing the overall quality of care provided to residents.

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Profits come before protecting our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Nursing homes housing our nation’s elderly that are owned by private investment groups often put profits over people in operating their facilities, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Times piece revealed that since the year 2000, 1200 nursing homes have been purchased by large investment groups. While investors of these private groups have been making millions from operating these nursing homes, resident care has declined. The model these groups have been following – reduce costs, increase profits and quickly sell. The consequences of implementing this model are decreased levels of staff and decreased budgets for supplies, activities and other resident services. Decreases in care and services provided to residents leads to nursing home abuse and neglect, a prevalant problem in our nation’s long-term care facilities.

Click here for the full article

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In response to two recent Chicago Tribune articles regarding horrific abuse and neglect in an East Peoria, Illinois nursing home and the lawsuit brought against the home by Levin & Perconti for the serious neglect of one patient, Jason Held, Staff Director of the

Center for Justice & Democracy in Illinois raised an important, but overlooked point. He stated that the East Peoria abuse and neglect is just one example of a serious, statewide problem but that state agencies are unable to sufficiently deter carelessness, neglect and abuse or fairly compensate victims due to a lack of resources. Regardless of the state’s inability to punish nursing homes and compensate victims, operators of the facilities are allowed to operate without carrying liability insurance. Mr. Held recommends that we demand that the Illinois legislature require nursing home operators to carry liability insurance in order to deter wrongful action and hold the homes responsible for their actions, or lack thereof.

The Center for Justice & Democracy is a non-profit, tax-exempt group, founded by consumer advocates to protect the civil justice system. Click here to visit Center for Justice & Democracy website.

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In a follow up to the New York times article exposing how insurance companies exploit elder Americans, a recent article endorses stricter federal regulation of the insurance industry. A poignant deeper question the article raised is whether America can afford to continue putting decisions about necessary care and medical treatment into the hands of an industry that profits most when care is denied.

For the full article.

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Insurance premiums have soared for older Americans, but do older Americans actually get to use their insurance? Sometimes no. Elderly Americans are being faced with a huge hurdle when trying to use their long-term care that they saved for; that hurdle is their insurance company. The New York Times this week published a piece on long-term care denial by insurance companies for elderly Americans. The article featured Mary Rose Derks, who scraped together $100 each month for an insurance company that promised to eventually pay for an assisted living home.
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