Multistate Consortium Swallows Local Care Facilities

February 28, 2016

The trend for South Carolina nursing homes to place profits ahead of people recently accelerated, as three medium-sized facilities in the Palmetto State became part of an interstate conglomerate based in California.

After acquiring Compass Post Acute Rehabilitation in Conway, Las Calinas Post Acute Rehabilitation in Rock Hill, and Opus Post Acute Rehabilitation in West Columbia, Ensign Inc. now operates 220 skilled care facilities and related businesses across 14 states. Using classic business-speak, company President and CEO Christopher Christensen hailed the recent purchase as “an excellent platform for us to implement our locally-driven cluster model.” Mr. Christensen added that Ensign would like to purchase additional South Carolina facilities, although it was unclear whether his company intended to operate them, lease them out, or shut them down.

All three of the recently acquired facilities have 100 beds or less.

The Economics of Nursing Homes

The government recently slashed Medicare reimbursement to the point that it covers less than 75 percent of what private insurance pays, and this reimbursement is the lifeblood of most nursing care facilities. This revenue decline comes at a very bad time, as healthcare costs, including equipment, labor, and rent, continue to spiral upwards.

As a result, the math simply does not work out for small and independent nursing homes that have ties to the community and are usually more committed to patient care.

In prior times, a revenue gap could be filled by expanding and taking on more patients. But that is no longer possible, as the facility basically loses money with every bed that is filled. So, the only option to stay in business is to hand over operations to a large corporation that has lots of cash and can weather the storm. Now, a facility’s operator may only see a spreadsheet that details profit and loss.

Dollars and Cents and Neglect

No company has unlimited resources, and sooner or later, the consortium can no longer afford for the clinics to bleed money. That means that costs have to be cut, and staffing levels are the first target.

A reduced staff level is a breeding ground for nursing home abuse. Some of the fallout from being short staffed includes:

  • No Supervision: Without adequate staff to watch residents, petty rivalries often turn into open conflict.
  • Isolation: Instead of joining their friends, residents are left alone in their rooms because there is no one to watch them.
  • Slow Response: When a health crisis occurs, there may be no one to tend to the emergency.

Victims of nursing home abuse are entitled to cash compensation. Additionally, a lawsuit brings scrutiny to the situation, so the other residents are protected even if the company is looking the other way.

A Strong Voice for Victims

The best way to reverse the cycle of abuse at local nursing homes is to contact an aggressive personal injury lawyer in Charleston. At David Aylor Law Offices, we stand up for victims. Schedule your free case consultation with us today.

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