New Criteria Set for Pennsylvania Nursing Home Services
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities must meet certain requirements in order to be reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid. Those requirements are the focus of list of changes proposed by Medicare and Medicaid. Industry insiders contend these changes in policy are a good start, as they bring written regulations in line with actual day-to-day practices already being done. The area where these changes fall short is its inability to address the underlying concerns of understaffing.
Medicaid and Medicare state that these policy changes are meant to:
- Provide better quality health care
- Improved patient safety
- Reduce procedural burdens on the care provider(s)
Part of the plan includes additional training for staff to care for patients suffering from dementia. Under the current system, a baseline care plan is developed for new patients within two weeks. With the new proposal, baseline care plans would be developed within two days.
Attorney General’s Lawsuit Against 25 Nursing Homes Dismissed
In 2015, the Pennsylvania Attorney General filed a lawsuit against 14 (eventually ballooning to 25) Golden Living facilities on behalf of residents, many of whom are recipients of Medicaid. The massive company runs a total of 36 nursing home facilities in the state, but these centers have been specifically called out for costing residents “their dignity and comfort” due to false advertising. The suit was suing for Medicaid money be reimbursed back to the residents.
However, in March 2017 the Commonwealth Court panel threw the case out, citing that Golden Living marketing materials weren’t falsely advertising, but engaging in using “puffy” subjective language to market their services. The judges also noted that billing disputes over Medicaid are meant to be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
In the several weeks since, the Attorney General’s office hasn’t confirmed whether it will seek an appeal. They did state that they were as committed to protecting the vulnerable populations of the commonwealth.
Meanwhile, 10 of the nursing home centers cited in the lawsuit have sold their licenses to a New York company named Priority Healthcare Group.
The Importance of High Standards
The story above illustrates how vital it is for Medicaid and Medicare officials to fight for high standards and clear criteria—those regulations determine the quality of life for vulnerable residents. While we wish every nursing home held themselves to high standards out of decency and the desire to be their best, it’s human nature to do the bare minimum.
The point of nursing home policy is to ensure that our most vulnerable loved ones receive what they need without depending on the individual decency of whoever their caretaker happens to be. Policy ensures reliability, dependability, and a quality of life that is humane on its worst day.
Are You A Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Elder Neglect?
If you or your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, or if you suspect someone you know is being neglected in an assisted living facility, there is a legal resource to turn to—Handler Henning & Rosenberg. Our Pennsylvania law firm has been helping people get the justice they deserve since 1922. We aggressively fight for victims of nursing home abuse, elder neglect, or any sort of injuries sustained in a care facility.
Your loved one deserved better. Our team will make sure that their care facility understands exactly what they did—and we’ll fight to secure the medical care and financial stability your loved one should have had in the first place. Call us or contact us with our online form to figure out your legal options and what you should do next.