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According to a report released last week by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services inspector general, Medicare paid approximately 5.1 BILLION dollars for patients to stay in nursing homes that failed to meet federal quality of care regulations in 2009. In some cases, the violations of federal standards resulted in dangerous and neglectful conditions.
The report details that one-third of patients were in nursing homes that failed to follow basic care requirements mandated by regulations applicable to facilities that accept Medicare dollars. For example, nursing homes are supposed to develop and implement care plans specifically designed for each resident, with the goal of helping each patient reach his or her highest possible levels of physical, mental and psychological well-being. Residents not only go without crucial help they need, but the government is spending taxpayers’ dollars to these facilities that actually endanger the health of patients. In some cases, facilities even charged for services that patients no longer needed, according to their own records.
Yet, nursing homes still want special laws protecting them from lawsuits when they harm patients. Enough is enough.