Over the last six years, complaints against Ventura County nursing homes are up almost twentyfold despite a California law that pumped nearly $900 million of Medi-Cal money into nursing homes throughout California. Remarkably, just prior to receiving the additional funds, Ventura County ombudsmen filed only 10 complaints against local nursing facilities, yet over a the period of July 2009 to May 2010 the same ombudsmen filed 194 complaints.
“The numbers show that (the law) did not do what it was supposed to do: increase the quality of care for residents in nursing homes,” Sylvia Taylor Stein, executive director of the Long Term Care Services of Ventura County ombudsman program, told the Ventura County Star. “They were given a checkbook with no oversight.”
By way of example, Oxnard’s Shoreline Care Center received $877,356.00 in additional Medi-Cal funding from 2004 to 2008, but records show that the facility actually provided less nursing hours per patient per day than it did prior to the funding increase. It’s not surprising that the nursing home took in $4.1 million in profits after the law was passed.
This news alarms, but does not surprise nursing home advocates. Mike Connors of the CANHR says it basically proves what he has known all along, that many nursing homes put profits ahead of people, “Staffing levels, using money for profits instead of care are all indicators of facilities that are putting money before care for residents,” Connors said.
Staffing is the single largest expense of any nursing home, and inadequate staffing is the source of may allegations of nursing home neglect. For example, Shoreline is being sued right now by experienced nursing home attorney Greg Johnson in a case where two CNAs attempted to move a paralyzed woman from her shower chair to her bed, opting to forego the use of a mechanical that was ordered by a physician. During the transfer, the resident’s shoulder snapped with a loud crack, causing very serious medical problems.
“We’re talking about the difference between a 20-second transfer versus a five-minute transfer, and that adds up,” Johnson said, laying blame at the feet of the institution for failing to fund additional staffing when it’s warranted. “I do not believe that these people who work in these facilities and work their butts off are uncaring because if they were, they wouldn’t work there. I’ve had CNAs cry when I say ‘How do you feel when you go home at the end of your shift?’”
Source: Ventura County Star
The nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Walton Law Firm provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abused or neglected in the nursing home or assisted living setting. Cases are accepted in all Southern California counties, including San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura County. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free and confidential consultation.