Photo: Matthew Paulson via FlickrDespite hurricane risks, Florida has been a popular retirement locale for senior citizens, who may eventually need to transition to skilled nursing facilities.
News on Wednesday that eight residents of a Hollywood, Fla. nursing home had died a few days after the facility lost power for its air conditioning unit during Hurricane Irma (see more coverage links below) has refocused attention on persistent weaknesses in nursing facility regulation and oversight.
A report released in late August (prior to the Harvey and Irma hurricanes) by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (OIG) highlights problems with how incidents of potential abuse or neglect are reported and investigated. Separately, there has been pushback in Congress on a Trump administration effort to weaken Obama-era restrictions on the use of arbitration agreements to settle nursing home claims. Continue reading
There’s a reason why Kay Lazar wins awards for her coverage of Massachusetts’ health care industry – she does it better than perhaps anyone else on the beat.
Lazar is again a recipient of an AHCJ’s Excellence in Health Care Journalism Award, this time winning third place in beat reporting for her body of work on the Bay State’s nursing home industry. In a new How I Did It article for AHCJ, she zooms in on one of her stories, which followed the Medicaid money trail via the reports nursing homes must make to state regulators. Continue reading
Nursing home star ratings are misleading and disingenuous, according to a recent analysis comparing ratings with quality measures alone. More than a thousand nursing homes nationally with high overall ratings had only one or two stars in quality measures, which could point to some serious health implications for residents. Continue reading
Serious problems at nursing homes are often easy to conceal. That is, unless you specifically dig for patterns of fraud, abuse, or misconduct. That’s exactly what award-winning Boston Globe journalist Kay Lazar did to uncover a pattern of high profits for the owners, while complaints and problems mounted.
In a series of gripping stories, Lazar provided both micro and macro views of complex and potentially dangerous situations in nursing homes purchased by fast-growing Synergy Health Centers. She explored how failures in the Massachusetts state licensing system hurt families and how state regulators failed to perform the most basic checks on company executives and company finances before granting licenses. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) thinks Indiana University may be on to something when it comes to more effective nursing home care. It recently announced a second round of funding for Project OPTIMISTIC, which stands for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. Continue reading