Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The New York Times reports:
Habana Health Care Center, a 150-bed nursing home in Tampa, Fla., was struggling when a group of large private investment firms purchased it and 48 other nursing homes in 2002. Alice Garcia, with her granddaughter Jacqualynn Hewitt in 1995. Mrs. Garcia, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died in 2003 after a bedsore became infected at Habana Health Care Center in Tampa, Fla. The facility’s managers quickly cut costs. Within months, the number of clinical registered nurses at the home was half what it had been a year earlier, records collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate. Budgets for nursing supplies, resident activities and other services also fell, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. The investors and operators were soon earning millions of dollars a year from their 49 homes. Residents fared less well. Over three years, 15 at Habana died from what their families contend was negligent care in lawsuits filed in state court. Regulators repeatedly warned the home that staff levels were below mandatory minimums. When regulators visited, they found malfunctioning fire doors, unhygienic kitchens and a resident using a leg brace that was broken. “They’ve created a hellhole,” said Vivian Hewitt, who sued Habana in 2004 when her mother died after a large bedsore became infected by feces.
Sidebar: The Times examined more than 1,200 nursing homes purchased by large private investment groups since 2000, and more than 14,000 other homes. The analysis compared investor-owned homes against national averages in multiple categories, including complaints received by regulators, health and safety violations cited by regulators, fines levied by state and federal authorities, the performance of homes as reported in a national database known as the Minimum Data Set Repository and the performance of homes as reported in the Online Survey, Certification and Reporting database.
Read the rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/business/23nursing.html
Thanks to Richard Kaplan for the heads up.