The Advocate had an excellent article on the legal struggle to place a video camera in a resident’s room after the nursing home denied the family’s request. After Ann Graff, a nursing home resident at Heritage Manor of Slidell, ended up with a black eye and no one could explain how she got it, her daughter asked permission to place a video camera in Graff’s room.  An MRI taken determined that Graff had a fractured vertebra, which required surgery.

“The fact that the facility cannot tell me how she was injured leaves me guessing about what she experiences each day,” her daughter said.  Now, the family is asking a federal court to require the nursing home to allow the camera.  The family agreed to bear the cost of operating the camera and monitoring its footage. The camera does not record audio, and would record video only of Graff’s bed. The family received permission from Graff’s roommate and would have put up signs notifying visitors to the room of the camera.

A civil rights lawsuit claims Heritage Manor and its owner, Medico LLC, are discriminating against Graff on the basis of her disability and violating her rights as a Louisiana nursing home resident.  Medico is affiliated with nursing home magnate Elton Beebe, a major donor in Louisiana political campaigns.

The Advocacy Center of Louisiana and the AARP Foundation are representing the women in the lawsuit, which says it seeks to enforce Graff’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Louisiana Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights.

In the 2015 Louisiana governor’s race, Beebe’s family and associated businesses donated at least $67,500 to John Bel Edwards and his top opponent, David Vitter. That same year, Beebe and his family also donated $25,000 to former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s failed presidential campaign.

 

 

 

The Economist had an interesting article about how campaign contributions from the nursing home industry influence policy in Louisiana.  ” No interest group showers more money on the Bayou State’s politicians than nursing homes and their owners. Indeed, the last two governors together collected over $1m in donations from nursing homes; Louisiana legislators and other state officials have raked in many millions more.”

“For nursing home owners, the investment in politicians has paid off handsomely. Every year, the fees the state pays them to house elderly and physically disabled people rise at rates that substantially outpace inflation. Meanwhile, their main competitors—home- and community-based health providers, which provide part-time care for the disabled in their own homes—have seen their rates cut repeatedly.”

In 2015, the governor considered an overhaul of Louisiana’s policies, one that would have shifted more money to home-based providers and away from nursing homes. The needed reform was dropped when the nursing home industry complained—an episode recounted in a recent report by the Advocate newspaper.

“Surveys have shown that given the choice and some help with basic tasks, most older folks would rather stay in their own homes than be institutionalised. That option also tends to be cheaper. Most states have been going in this direction: in a typical state, about 60% of the Medicaid budget for long-term care goes to nursing homes; the other 40% goes to home- and community-based care. The ratio has been getting closer to par every year. But in Louisiana, 77% of that pie goes to nursing homes, a share that has grown in each of the last four years.”

Beavercreek police are investigating a sex offense at a nursing home.  On July 17, a case of gross sexual imposition and pandering obscenity involving a minor was reported to Beavercreek police.

WHIO reported that Pristine Senior Living in Beavercreek said they are conducting an internal investigation, and are cooperating with police in their investigation of sex offenses involving an employee.

The Statesman reported the horrific allegations against a nursing home employee accused of beating a 90-year-old woman after she wet her bed in the facility in May.  Austin police investigated the incident on May 12 after a resident at the Gracy Woods 1 Nursing Center reported that a new employee had assaulted her during the night, the affidavit said.  The woman told investigators that the employee turned her over on her stomach and hit her on her back several times, according to the report.

Carly Vondra, a certified nurse’s assistant, faces a second-degree felony charge of injury to a disabled individual, according to an arrest affidavit.  Vondra was assigned tot he resident and was identified as the person who hit her after seeing photos a relative pulled from the internet, the affidavit said.

The Marin Indpendent Journal reported the investigation into suspicious billing by Brius Healthcare Services.  The California State Auditor’s investigation will discover if Brius inflated its prices to profit from Medi-Cal reimbursements.  Evidence exists that Brius nursing homes paid inflated prices to some of its related businesses, with some prices exceeding 200 percent of the local market average.

“This one corporation, Brius, takes in approximately $570 million every year in Medi-Cal and Medicare dollars,” legislator McGuire said. “They have two medical supply corporations, a pharmaceutical company and management service businesses.”

The legislators say in that in 2015, Brius paid out more than $67 million to related-party businesses for the purchase of services, goods and supplies, and more than $46 million of that was paid to companies established by Brius’ CEO, Shlomo Rechnitz, to serve as landlords for the centers.

Brius’ owner, Rechnitz, owns the properties Brius’ nursing homes rent, and he charges them above-market rates. Government records show at least 65 Brius nursing homes rent their facilities from a firm controlled by Rechnitz.

Reuters had an interesting article about a recent study showing that nursing home care is increasingly being delivered by specialized nurses and physician assistants instead of medical doctors.  “One of the problems is that many nursing homes have no regular doctors, since it is not a requirement,” Dr. Mitchell Katz, director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency told Reuters Health by email. “Most nursing home patients have a private doctor who signs the orders for the nursing care, but it is at an office where they may not be able to get to the nursing home on a regular basis.”

“In the past decade, the number of doctors in nursing homes has dropped as the number of “skilled nursing facility specialists” has almost doubled, the researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine.”

The research team found that the proportion of physicians who had ever billed for care delivered in these facilities fell from 13.7 percent to 9.8 percent. Although the number of physicians classified as skilled nursing facility specialists rose from 1,496 to 2,225, that represented an increase from just 0.3 percent of all physicians to 0.5 percent.

The Times News reported the lawsuit filed against White Oak Manor and White Oak Management for neglect of a wound after an amputation—larvae and maggots were growing in his body and he lost his remaining leg.

William Brooks was admitted to Burlington’s White Oak Manor on May 5, 2014, while recovering from an amputation below the right knee.  That July, after an infection sent him back to the hospital, Brooks had doctor’s orders for frequent cleaning and redressing a wound on his remaining foot. According to the suit, there was no record of that treatment being done in June or July of 2014.

A doctor was called in to evaluate Brooks when maggots were found in the wound on his left ankle. He was treated, but he ended having his left leg amputated below the knee.

The suit claims White Oak Manor and its staff were negligent in caring for Brooks, and he suffered physically, emotionally, financially and was disfigured because of it.

 

SBS reported Trump’s threats against members of his own party who refuse to vote for TrumpCare.  “Over and over again they said repeal and replace. And for Senate Republicans, this is their chance to keep their promise.”

“If Republicans don’t Repeal and Replace the disastrous ObamaCare, the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!” he tweeted.

“Any senator that votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare,” Trump said at the White House, where several “victims” of Obamacare stood as a backdrop to his remarks.

“Obamacare is death,” Trump added. “It’s gone. And now it’s up to us to get great health care for the American people.”

The Advocate reported the prison sentence for a mother-son team that defrauded Medicare for bogus psychological services for nursing home patients in Louisiana and three other states.  Prosecutors say Medicare paid out more than $13 million under the swindle.  A jury convicted psychologist Rodney Hesson and his mother, Gertrude Parker, each on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

Hesson was sentenced to 15 years in prison and must pay back $13.8 million, and Parker to seven years and restitution of $7.3 million.  Hesson and Parker ran the fraud scheme through two companies: Nursing Home Psychological Services and Psychological Care Services.

The firms contracted with nursing homes in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Prosecutors argued at trial that the firms billed taxpayers thousands of times for psychological testing that the patients didn’t need and often never received.

Court records show that two other defendants in the case pleaded guilty last fall.

John Teal, a clinical psychologist, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to two years in prison. Teal admitted to administering tests to nursing home patients who were “either non-responsive or were otherwise unable to meaningfully participate.”

Beverly Stubblefield pleaded guilty to a health fraud conspiracy count and received a 30-year sentence. She admitted she supervised five clinical psychologists and filed false documents.

New York Magazine reported on the latest CBO score for TrumpCare.   The bill’s effects are as bad as the earlier bill’s. The same 22 million would lose health coverage. Medicaid is cut by $756 billion over ten years instead of $772 billion. Average premiums would go down in exchange for skimpier benefits. For some older people, premiums could go up a lot; for some poor people, out-of-pocket expenses would skyrocket.