As a nursing home lawyer, I’ve spent countless hours talking to nursing home residents, their families, and nursing home staff as well as nursing home administration.
When a nursing home resident is injured due to nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse, the details vary greatly, but the general theme is often very similar.
First, a resident of the nursing home suffers from some injury or wound. Often, the wound is a bed sore or an injury caused by a nursing home fall. The family then demands answers from the administration. The administration blames the nursing home staff. The nursing home staff, backed by evidence, responds that they are understaffed.
When pressed, many nursing home administrators claim that they would happily hire more staff… if they could afford it.
But would they?
The paper found that the more nursing homes relied on Medicaid residents, the more likely they were to have below average staffing levels. The article goes on to say that nursing homes “that are heavily dependent on Medicaid payments can be expected to keep staffing at the existing levels unless Medicaid rates are raised or other policies are changed such as instituting minimum staffing requirements.”
Make no mistake, for-profit nursing homes are extremely profitable. They become profitable by cutting corners, not by hiring more staff. According to the paper, it would take an enormous increase in medicaid reimbursement rates to make any kind of positive impact on staffing levels.
There are really only two ways to make nursing homes increase staffing to the levels needed to conduct their business safely. The first way, mentioned in the report, is for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement policies that insist on higher staffing levels.
The second way is through the courts. Nursing home businesses operate in such a way as to make the most money. If they are forced to pay enough penalties through fines and judgements that increasing staffing becomes more profitable, they will increase staffing. Until then, they won’t.
If you have a loved one in an Illinois nursing home, and you feel they have been the victims of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.