The Washington Post reported that Republican lawmakers expressed concerns about their party’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act at a meeting according to a recording of the session obtained by The Washington Post.

The recording reveals a GOP that appears to be filled with doubts about how to repeal Obamacare.  Senators and House members expressed a range of concerns about the task ahead: how to prepare a replacement plan that can be ready to launch at the time of repeal; how to avoid deep damage to the health insurance market; how to keep premiums affordable for middle-class families; even how to avoid the political consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood, the women’s health-care organization, as many Republicans hope to do with the repeal of the ACA.

Republicans have also discussed the idea of generating revenue for their plan by taking aim at deductions that allow most Americans to get health insurance through their employers without paying extra taxes on it. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who has drafted his own bill to reform the Affordable Care Act, said in response, “It sounds like we are going to be raising taxes on the middle class in order to pay for these new credits.”

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) worried that the plans under GOP consideration could eviscerate coverage for the roughly 20 million Americans now covered through state and federal marketplaces and the law’s Medicaid expansion: “We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”

“We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created” with repeal, said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”

Vox had another article about DHHS Secretary Tom Price who blatantly lied during his confirmation hearing.  His ethics are being challenged because he was buying health care stocks while writing laws that impacted the companies he was investing in. And now, according to the Wall Street Journal’s James Grimaldi, it looks like he may have doubled his trouble by lying to Congress during his two rounds of confirmation hearings.

What’s at issue specifically is his purchase of discounted shares in an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics. During confirmation hearings, he was directly asked about this sweetheart deal and testified that the shares “were available to every single individual that was an investor at the time.”

However, that is false.  Price was one of fewer than 20 U.S. investors who were invited last year to buy discounted shares of the company.  The value of Price’s shares has tripled, so he’s certainly benefited from his special offer.

WSOCTV reported that Darious Johnson showed Channel 9 samples of moldy drywall that came from inside Autumn Care of Marshville.  Johnson worked at Autumn Care as the nursing home’s director of maintenance, and was compelled to expose a problem with mold he found at Autumn Care because he cares about the residents and employees there.

However, when he brought the issue to his manager in November, he was told to paint over the mold.  Inspectors found several minor violations and mold in three rooms, according to a Dec. 27 state report.

Johnson who worked at the facility for 15 years quit after the inspection out of frustration.

“From, you know, the lack of management and the lack of them going anything about it,” Johnson said.

Mold can cause a number of health problems as simple as stuffiness, to as serious as lung infections, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

 

 

The Idaho Press-Tribune reported on a recent report criticizing Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center highlights the need for a sufficient number of nursing staff at long-term care facilities, officials say.  In July, Holly Lane was found to have numerous, serious infractions during a surprise state inspection. A follow-up visit in October confirmed many of the same problems were still happening.

The state investigators found Holly Lane did not have enough licensed nurses or certified nursing assistants to meet the needs of its residents.  Residents told stories of waiting for at least an hour for someone to answer call lights to help them get out of bed or to be helped off the toilet.

 Staff complained that they were pulled into duties they aren’t paid or qualified to do because they were short-staffed.

Debby Ransom, the bureau chief of facility standards for the Department of Health and Welfare, said the federal requirement is  have to have “sufficient staff” to meet the needs of residents.

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.