One of the more complicated issues facing Americans is selecting a long term care facility for their loved ones; mother, spouse, and sometimes children. The issue of skilled nursing or assisted living as well as location is very daunting, however another issue that families must contend with is the ownership type of facility. Many will ask if the facility is owned and operated by the State, County, not for profit entity, charitable endeavor, religious organization, for profit company, or large chain often owned by a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) or Joint Venture Capitalists.
The Boston Globe, one of the premier investigative newspapers in the Country, decided to shine their light on the ever expanding Nursing Home giant from Pennsylvania, Genesis Healthcare. According to the article Genesis Health Care has become a behemoth and grown over the last four years to become the largest owner of nursing homes nationwide. Their analysis revealed that Genesis facilities had more pronounced Gaps in Nursing Staffing Levels in Massachusetts. Growth only becomes an issue when resident safety is compromised.
The Globe then contacted the chair of Javerbaum Wurgaft’s long term care litigation section, Saul Gruber, to identify issues outside of Massachusetts regarding Genesis. Although Mr. Gruber was unable to point to specific cases due to prevalent “non disclosure” clauses in any settlement, Gruber indicated “We have seen more abuse cases, more cases that simply come from not paying attention, and not watching the resident, which is surprising for Genesis.”
The issue of resident safety in private equity owned nursing homes is not new. In fact the Federal Government has found that residents are more likely to suffer from needless harm when a nursing home is owned by a for profit corporation. The sad truth is that nursing homes have only one true job, to care for people who cannot care for themselves. When money and profit is put before safety, we all suffer.
When asked to comment further on safety, Gruber stated “In the past couple of years, people are choking and dying because someone allowed them to have food they weren’t supposed to. Who does that , unless you are understaffed?”
When deciding on a nursing home for a loved one, call the lawyers at Javerbaum Wurgaft, we are here to help.