Abuse Of The Elderly Is Increasing – Especially In For-Profit Care Centers

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When you look at the figures for our population, there is a significant amount of elderly people at this point in time. Known as the Baby Boomers, the amount of people who are in their golden years is almost double what it has ever been in the past.

Sadly, along with this increase in the number of elderly people, there has also been a significant increase in the number of cases of abuse of the elderly in nursing homes and care centers. For-profit nursing homes, as opposed to non-profit or government, ran care centers, seem to have the most cases of fraud, abuse, and substandard care complaints.

Not All Care Facilities Are The Same

In the health care industry, you generally have three types of entities. For-profit, non-profit, and government-owned. While there is no real way to determine which of these facilities will provide the best health care to an individual in need, there are some warning signs that the for-profit entities may be looking out for their best interests instead of those of their patients.

A study conducted by Bloomberg News, using data collected from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shows that for-profit nursing homes have a 30 percent higher rate of submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid than any other type of entity. Most of these fraudulent claims include billing for services not performed. So, you must ask yourself, were they padding the bills with these procedures, or did the patients just not receive the care?

You may ask yourself also, does this fraudulent billing really impact the system? The answer is yes. When these companies submit fraudulent claims they are wasting resources that have been put in place to care for the elderly. These wasted resources equal less money available to care for others.

A Majority Of Care Centers Are Now For-Profit

In 2010, over 78 percent of the $105 billion dollar nursing home industry went to for-profit care centers. This increase does reflect a significant increase over the 2002 data. While some of the increase is due to more elderly people needing care, a large portion of this increase is due to for-profit nursing homes aggressively trying to turn a profit, regardless of how that profit is made. During this same period, waste, fraud, and declining care standards also increased.

This trend is not only applied to the nursing home industry. At this time, over 96 percent of all outpatient surgery centers are operated by for-profit agencies. Over 50 percent of Hospice centers, 80 percent of dialysis centers, and over 50 percent of home health care operations are all for-profit businesses.

Hospitals are almost exempt from this trend. As of 2010, 90 percent of hospitals still remained operated by non-profit and government agencies. However, investors have been aggressively trying to change this ratio as the increased demand for medical care for the elderly means potential for profit in their eyes.

Aggressive Cost-Cutting Procedures

Because for-profit nursing homes must generate revenue to pay their investors, they have become overly aggressive at cost-cutting measures. The standard of care is generally impacted by the residents in these homes.

A survey of the 10 largest for-profit nursing home chains found that they employ 37 percent fewer registered nurses than their non-profit and government counterparts. This results in diminished skilled care for the patients. These same homes have over 59 percent more complaints filed against them for other violations, such as cleanliness and standard of care, than non-profit and government care facilities.

Since this information was released, there has been an increase in the number of registered nurses per patient in these facilities, but their standard of care levels still leave a lot to be desired.

What to do if You or a Loved One Has Been Neglected in a Nursing Home

Since these for-profit nursing homes are all about profit, seeking financial compensation for negligence is the best way to hold them accountable for their actions. Substandard care, abuse, neglect, and fraudulent practices by nursing homes should not be tolerated. If you believe that you or your loved one has been a victim of these practices, it is important to take legal action and report this abuse to personal injury attorneys immediately. The only way to send a message to the industry that this is not acceptable is to force them to acknowledge that it is happening.