Advanced Senior Care had an article about the five biggest complaints nursing home residents have and there is no surprises.

#1: No one coming when the call bell is pressed

#2: The food

#3: The patient lift

#4: Nighttime disturbances

#5: There’s no one here for me to talk to

 

The State newspaper reported the ongoing struggle for low paid health care givers in South Carolina.  Low wages, high turnover and burn-out makes life difficult for both caregiver and patient.

The turnover rate among nursing staff at the S.C. Department of Mental Health — which operates hospitals, nursing homes and community mental health centers — was 22 percent in the state’s fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the agency because the pay for those workers lags behind the private sector. The annual average salary for a registered nurse in South Carolina is $61,110, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the average salary for registered nurses who work for Mental Health is almost $8,000 a year less — $53,504, according to the agency. Nurses at community health care centers fare even worse, averaging $49,065 a year.

 S.C. state employees – from law enforcement officers to social workers to mental health workers – are unlikely to get a pay raise this tear. In four of the last 10 years, state employees did not get a raise.  At the same time, their paychecks will shrink because they will have to pay more toward their retirement costs.

Low pay and staffing cuts have led to overworked state employees who cannot provide the care their fellow citizens need.  S.C. agencies have almost 8,000 fewer employees than two decades ago. But those fewer workers are serving almost 1 million more S.C. residents.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Autumn Health Care of Zanesville, a nursing home operator, has been ordered to repay tens of thousands of fraudulently obtained Medicare and Medicaid dollars, after an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The investigation found that the owner and other employees habitually altered documents to make it appear patients were being properly cared for in order to receive government aid.

With permission from family members, investigators hid surveillance cameras in patients’ rooms, the first time such measures had been used in a state nursing-home investigation.  While the nursing home’s records reflected a high level of care, the investigation found that several patients missed treatments or were given therapy they didn’t need, the attorney general’s office said.

The corporation pleaded guilty to multiple charges in October, including forgery, tampering with evidence, Medicaid fraud, telecommunications fraud, theft and engaging in corrupt activity.

Autumn Health Care of Zanesville must pay back $53,390 to the Ohio Department of Medicaid and $75,250 to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as $40,000 in investigative costs.

Its owner, Steven Hitchens, entered pleas to single counts of tampering with evidence, tampering with records and forgery. Hitchens was ordered to serve three years of community control and conduct 100 hours of community service.

 

 

 

Twin Cities reported the arrest of David Erwin DeLong, nursing home employee, for felony criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 78-year-old resident with advanced Alzheimer’s disease at Heritage House in Pequot Lakes.

The criminal complaint outlines the witness statement and DNA evidence gathered to make the case that DeLong sexually assaulted the 78-year-old woman in May 2016. The woman is nonverbal, wheelchair-bound and unable to feed herself, requiring round-the-clock care, the complaint stated.

A co-worker interrupted DeLong committing what she believed was a sexual assault. The staff member said she was the only other person working in the building at the time, and wanted to leave for a cup of coffee between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m. She went to find DeLong to tell him, and noticed the door was closed to the room he was in. She tapped on the door a few times, waited a second or two, and then opened the door.

Inside, the staff member said the resident was lying on her side in a fetal position with her backside positioned outward, naked from the waist down. DeLong stood several feet away sweaty and out of breath, the staff member said, jumping up and down attempting to pull up his pants and underwear. DeLong allegedly turned around and looked at his co-worker, said “I,” but then stopped, shaking his head before turning his back.

The staff member told the officer she was so shocked, she didn’t know what to do. She closed the door and immediately reported what she saw to a nursing staff member working in the next building. That staff member contacted the director of the facility, who directed him to bring DeLong into the office for a conference call. DeLong allegedly denied the allegations during the phone call, and was sent home.

The resident was transported to Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd to undergo a sexual assault exam. While preparing the woman for transport, it was discovered she was wearing a different nightgown than the one the staff member observed when she walked in on DeLong. Staff later located the nightgown and a mattress pad from the resident’s bed washed in the washing machine, and all on-duty staff denied placing the items there.

The remaining bedding, clothing and underwear worn by the victim were gathered and sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis, along with the sexual assault exam kit completed at the hospital.

In June, the BCA issued a preliminary report, indicating semen was identified on swabs taken from the victim as part of the sexual assault exam. In August, the lab issued a final report, which indicated DeLong’s DNA profile matched the one found in the victim’s exam.

 

 

A new study from researchers from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine has found that delirium affects nearly 18 percent of nursing home residents and has a one-year mortality rate of 40 percent. The symptoms of delirium usually last one week, but can take weeks or months to resolve. The symptoms are similar to dementia, resulting in misdiagnosis in nursing home residents.

Delirium is a syndrome of altered mental status shown to produce disorganized thinking, deficits in attention and a fluctuating course, which plays a significant role in mortality of nursing home patients.  However, maintaining hydration and minimizing medication exposure is an effective means to prevent delirium. Pain can lead to delirium, and managing it well can improve outcomes.

The study was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Hall of Fame magazine reported on the abuse at Winters Park Nursing Home.  Minnie Graham is 98 year old and living in Winters nursing home in Texas. One day, she told her family that one of the staff abused her.  The family became suspicious and more concerned when they found black eyes and bruises on Minnie’s face. The nursing home caregivers said that Minnie had fallen out of her wheelchair several times.

The family set up a hidden camera to find out for themselves what was really going on.  What the family saw terrified them.

One of the Winters Park Nursing Home workers, who was identified as Brenna Tiller, was caught on camera, hitting Minnie. She was also cursing and mocking at the elderly woman. While Minnie was screaming in pain, Tiller sprayed water to her face and placed a towel on her mouth. The towel that Tiller put on Minnie’s mouth was the one she used to clean the old woman’s body.

Another worker, who goes by the name Louis, was also caught on camera hitting Minnie. He also punched the old woman.

Louis was arrested while Tiller was convicted for felony with 5 years of probation.

Politico reported on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on ObamaCare.  A Republican bill to repeal Obamacare would result in 32 million Americans losing health insurance and would double the price of insurance premiums within a decade, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report.

In the first year after repeal, 18 million people would lose insurance and premiums in the non-group market would spike by 20 percent to 25 percent, according to the CBO estimate.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that a majority of Americans now want to keep Obamacare and believe it was a good idea. Only 16% believe it should be totally repealed.  And half of Americans — 50 percent — say they have little to no confidence that Republican proposals to replace the law will make things better.  25% of Republicans want to keep ObamaCare

See article at NBC and Reuters also.

News 12 Long Island reported the arrest of three caregivers from a Uniondale nursing home for neglect that led to the death of a patient.  The state attorney general says two nurses and a nurse’s aide at A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility neglected an 81-year-old by ignoring the ventilator alarm (after it got disconnected somehow) for at least 9 minutes–enough time for him to suffocate and die.

Experts say there is a condition called “alarm fatigue” that sometimes causes nurses and other health care professionals to miss the sound of alarms.

Slate had another great article on embattled nominee for HHS, Tom Price.  The article mentions three areas where an “appearance of corruption” exists.

First, Price has used inside information to buy stocks in medical companies while also writing legislation that could sway those firms’ fortunes. The Wall Street Journal recently found that Price had “bought and sold stock in about 40 health-care, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies since 2012, including a dozen in the current congressional session.”

Second, in 2015, Price bought discounted stock in a small Australian biotech firm, Innate Immuno, that was attempting to win Food and Drug Administration approval for a new multiple sclerosis drug. Price purchased the stock in a private offering marketed only to “sophisticated U.S. investors” that Kaiser Health News referred to as a “sweetheart deal.”  Price has notched a 400 percent gain on the investment.

 Finally, as CNN reported this weekend, Price introduced a bill that would assist a major medical device–maker less than a week after investing in it. Price bought between $1,001 and $15,000 in Zimmer Biomet, which manufacturers products like knee- and hip-replacement parts. Within days, he introduced the HIP Act, which would have delayed a regulation that would affect Zimmer Biomet’s profits by saving money on the way Medicare paid for hip- and knee-replacement surgeries.
The Office of Congressional Ethics needs to investigate whether Price violated the STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012 and was designed to stop insider trading by federal elected officials.
How is this guy qualified for a Cabinet post?

 

Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising additional ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary.

Price bought between $1,001 to $15,000 worth of shares last March in Zimmer Biomet.  A few days later, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented.  After Price offered his bill to provide Zimmer Biomet relief from the CMS regulation, the company’s political action committee donated heavily to the congressman’s reelection campaign.
Zimmer Biomet, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of knee and hip implants, was one of two companies that would have been hit the hardest by the new CMS regulation that directly impacts the payments for such procedures.
The new revelation is the latest example of Price trading stock in a healthcare firm at the same time as pursuing legislation that could impact a company’s share price. The Wall Street Journal reported that he traded roughly $300,000 in shares over the past four years in health companies while pursuing legislation that could impact them.
 Price sat on an influential Ways and Means subcommittee that directly oversees health care policy. “This new report makes clear that this isn’t just a couple of questionable trades, but rather a clear and troubling pattern of congressman Price trading stock and using his office to benefit the companies in which he is investing,” Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “The Office of Congressional Ethics needs to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into these potential violations of the STOCK Act before Rep. Price’s nomination moves forward.”
His stock holdings have included Aetna Inc., Pfizer Inc, Amgen Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. In recent years he has sponsored or co-sponsored 44 bills with potentially important financial impact on the U.S. health care system, insurers and the pharmaceutical industry.