A Lexington, Kentucky-based nursing home corporation doubled the size of its footprint in South Carolina while also expanding operations in four other states.
Kindred Healthcare paid the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control $18 million for a license to operate in all 46 counties. That action allowed Kindred to assume control of nine additional facilities in the Palmetto State, bringing the total to nineteen. The company, which has been in South Carolina since 2015, agreed to re-hire all employees at the facilities and assume care of all residents, and it has plans for even more growth in the state. Along with the South Carolina expansion, Kindred assumed operations at care facilities in Cleveland, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, and Orlando.
With assets exceeding $7.2 billion, Kindred operates 2,723 facilities in 47 states.
Nursing Home Economics
These facilities count on Medicaid for about 50 percent of their operating revenue. But reforms mandated by the 1996 Balanced Budget Act recently took effect, and radically changed the reimbursement formula. Now, instead of a per-patient actual cost, Medicaid uses a prospective payment system that considers:
- The amount of care needed (the case-mix ratio);
- The estimated number of days this care will continue; and
- A fixed multiplier based on 1998 regional data.
The first two factors are highly subjective, and auditors sometimes interpret the data differently and pay less than the requested amount. Furthermore, facilities complain that the multiplier is outdated.
Moreover, most nursing homes are designed to operate at 90 percent of capacity. Additional occupancy may strain the facility’s physical resources, and thus increase repair and renovation costs, not to mention the downtime associated with such activities. So, there is a rather low ceiling in terms of revenue.
Nursing Home Staff
As a result, an estimated 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. The federal government, citing the cost, has thus far refused to intervene. As anyone who has ever been overworked will attest, inadequate staffing levels have many negative effects on both employees and customers. Specifically with regard to nursing homes, some understaffing consequences include:
- Lack of Emergency Response: If an unexpected situation arises, especially at night or on weekends, there may simply be no one to respond.
- Patient Isolation: Residents are sometimes left alone in their rooms because there is no one to watch them.
- Resident-on Resident Abuse: With no one to monitor interactions, petty rivalries and jealousies become violent.
- Assault: Stressful work environments create stressed-out employees, who cannot always control their frayed nerves.
With the government and economy both seemingly against nursing home patients, negligence lawsuits are the best way to effect change.
A Strong Voice for Victims
Nursing home abuse has devastating consequences for both victims and families. For a free consultation with a hard-working personal injury attorney in Charleston, contact David Aylor Law Offices. The sooner you call, the better the result we can obtain on your behalf.