Kentucky Nursing Homes Facing Public Scrutiny
We rely on nursing home staffers to provide our elderly loved ones with compassionate care and reliable medical services. In 2017, government investigators began examining various nursing homes for cases of abuse and neglect. Per federal law, nursing homes are required to turn over all serious cases of neglect and abuse to the police. Unsparingly, their investigation revealed that only 1 out of 4 cases are ever officially reported. In fact, the government cited over 1,000 facilities for cases of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.
The Quality of Kentucky Nursing Facilities
John Cheves, an award-winning reporter for the Herald-Leader, has released an ongoing investigative series that analyzes how cases of neglect and abuse are being perpetrated in Kentucky’s 284 nursing home facilities. Cheves revealed that that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has rated 43% of Kentucky’s nursing homes as “below average” or “much below average.” Sadly, this isn’t exactly surprising news; the Kaiser Family Foundation, the AARP, and Families for Better Care have all rated Kentucky nursing homes as some of the worst in the nation.
But how did this happen?
Many of the serious problems affecting Kentucky nursing homes could be fixed if the facilities bothered to hire an adequate number of staffers. However, these nursing home facilities generate profit by pocketing payments and claiming that they can’t retain nurses who are willing to work such unpleasant and low-paying jobs.
The Nursing Home Lobby
Pay-to-play politics are greatly responsible for the current condition of our state’s nursing home facilities. The nursing home lobby is funding state Senate and House elections to protect negligent facilities from being held accountable for injuries, abuse, and fatalities.
In 2017, the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities (KAHCF) raised more than $170,000 to support Republican candidates. By funding these politicians, the KAHCF has the power to influence and regulate which bills are introduced and ultimately passed. For example, countless bills regarding minimum nursing home staffing requirements and state-approved guidelines for preventing bedsores will never see the light of day. Worse, Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Ralph Alvarado, have promoted legislation that prevents families from holding nursing homes and other medical providers accountable for acts of negligence.
Fortunately, since Cheves’ series was published, several lawmakers are calling for public hearings regarding nursing home staffing issues. Regrettably, the nursing home lobby is too powerful for any positive change to truly take effect. It’s up to the American people to hold their lawmakers responsible and fight for legislation that protects our must vulnerable citizens.
Pursuing Justice & Damages
There are reportedly over 34,000 Kentuckians living in long-term nursing home facilities. The families of these patients pay exorbitant amounts of money each year to guarantee that their loved ones receive the care their age and conditions necessitate. You can help protect your beloved family members by visiting often and at irregular intervals. It’s important to trust your instincts, so remove your loved one from a facility immediately if you’re concerned that they’re in danger.
If your family member has suffered abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing home facility, contact the Lexington nursing home abuse attorneys at Goeing Goeing & McQuinn PLLC. Our legal team has over 40 years of collective legal experience and has the skills and resources to thorough investigate a nursing home facility.
Contact Goeing Goeing & McQuinn PLLC at (859) 534-9327 to schedule a free consultation.