In yet another tale of nursing home workers taking advantage of the elderly, Robin Slaughter and Whitney McFarland were arrested for embezzling from patients. The workers stole money from the patients of Frankston Healthcare Center in Texas to buy themselves clothes, shoes, and purses. They both face up to 10 years in prison.  See article at CBS19.

8NewsNow reported on Elizabeth Olson, a courageous former nursing home worker who is speaking out against the daily neglect and abuse she witnessed at TLC in Henderson in Nevada. In a report of the state’s nursing homes, every home in Nevada had some violations but TLC was one of the worst.

It’s no surprise that one of the state’s worst violators had instances of abuse and neglect. Olson consistently tried to report the abuse and neglect she saw in TLC, but when she kept complaining to management, they asked her to leave. After leaving the home, Olson reported her complaints to the Ombudsman. She hopes that by making her complaints more public, the attention will cause the home to treat their patients better. She is taking a courageous stand.  Most employees are scared of losing their job or being blackballed by the industry so they keep quiet.

McKnight’s reported on the tragic and preventable death of  nursing home resident Joseph Roberts who was allowed to smoke cigarettes unsupervised at Carriage Hill, a nursing home in Virginia.  The facility had a no smoking policy that the staff ignored.   Roberts, who was on pain medication and was wheelchair bound, smoked a cigarette, which resulted in the fire.  Roberts suffered severe burns when his pants caught fire. The home’s attendants allegedly left him unattended outside the facility .  The home was found negligent in the incident and was ordered to pay $1.45 million to Roberts’ family

McKnight’s reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated their operations. New F-tags mandate that facilities must give notification at least 60 days before closure. Once given, the facility mustn’t admit any new residents and must submit a transfer plan for residents of the facility. Additionally, there were updates on tags F203 and F204. Ftags are the interpretative guidelines used by surveyors to determine if a nursing home is complying with standards from the Federal Nursing Home Act.

Two nursing home employees were charged and convicted of conspiracy and exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Lee Martin was the Business Office Coordinator for Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehab where she stole more than $100,000 from 83 residents at both facilities.

She wrote checks from the residents account, then used the money for her own purchases. She was able to get away with the crime for so long because she turned in her receipts as theirs. Angela Palmer noticed Martin was stealing from a relative who was in Vicksburg Convalescent Center. Instead of reporting the theft, Palmer joined Martin in the theft. Martin was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and $5,000 in assorted fines and court costs. She will have to pay back all of the money she stole as restitution. Palmer was sentenced to five years probation and $8,700 in assorted fines, restitution, and court costs.  See full story at Clarion Ledger.

The cost and expense of long term care has increased from last year, with private care costing roughly 3 times that of home care. Private care averages to ~$95,000, whereas home care averages to ~$30,000. Assisted Living averages ~$40,000, about twice that of home care. Cost of care across the industry has risen, and projections estimate that they will keep rising. With Medicare and Medicaid being cut at every turn, private cost to patients will become more and more expensive. Read the full article at Senior Housing News.

The Break Through Independent Living Center in Georgia was raided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Thomasville Police Department, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia Probation in the culmination of an extensive investigation into the home.

The home, which is owned by the House of Joy Church in Thomasville, was the site of countless offenses including sexual assault. The home’s operator, Earnistine Yates was arrested on charges of abuse, neglect, exploitation of disabled persons, false imprisonment, and operating a personal care home without a license. Authorities believe that patients at the home were being locked up and restrained with belts. The case is still under investigation. See full article at WTXL.

In an article from the Charleston Regional Business Journal, South Carolina’s medical disciplinary actions are compared with the rest of the nation. The Journal finds that SC’s disciplinary actions for medical professionals are the lowest in the nation.  SC has been the most lenient on disciplinary actions for medical professionals.  Whatever the reason, the fact remains that SC is the easiest state on medical professionals who have committed serious offenses requiring disciplinary action. Sometimes, less isn’t always more. Sometimes it’s just less, and it’s unsatisfying and unjust. Below is a good example of why the system needs to change.

Dr. Steven A. Matzinger first started using cocaine in 2006. From then on, he continued to use the drug until 2007 when he checked himself into rehab. He continued to see patients throughout his drug use, and he even saw patients during his stint at rehab.  Dr. Matzinger had several malpractice lawsuits brought against him from procedures during this time. He was also accused in a harassment case with a former employee.

The SC Board of Medical Examiners investigated Dr. Matzinger. They found out about his cocaine use and the multiple medical malpractice lawsuits. The Board gave him a fine of only $5,000, required him to stay in a program for recovering professionals, and suspended his license. However, the Board stayed the suspension when he paid the fine and administrative costs. Dr. Matzinger now works in Myrtle Beach, where he has been the recipient of another medical malpractice lawsuit.

The New York Times blog had a fantastic article on the importance of dental care in nursing homes.  Dental hygiene is an important component contributing to overall health. But in most nursing homes, it is overlooked.  Since brushing teeth isn’t a pressing need like having to use the bathroom or needing to be turned, it’s at the bottom of the list of care. Unfortunately, something as seemingly small as not brushing teeth can have a long list of negative side effects, including contributing to pneumonia, which can be fatal, especially with older patients. It can also cause patients severe pain and infection.

Dental care is such an important aspect of health that it was mandated in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act that residents who couldn’t brush their teeth themselves required assistance, like bathing, or any other daily activity.   As more elderly have kept their teeth, the time and effort it takes for dental hygiene per patient has increased.  As dental hygiene has improved, the number of people requiring dentures as they get older has decreased.  Dentures are easier to clean, and are less invasive than brushing someone’s teeth. Additionally, dementia among the elderly has increased, which often causes patients to be confused and disoriented and can manifest in unruly behavior, which can provide particular challenges for dental care.

Although there isn’t a nationwide survey of dental care in nursing homes, many states have performed assessments which describe a situation where oral care in nursing homes is nonexistent at worst and substandard at best.

Cambridge Realty Capital Companies has closed on a $6.5 million FHA-approved HUD Lean loan to refinance Laurel Baye of Greenville, a 132-bed skilled-care nursing home in Greenville, S.C.  Cambridge Chairman Jeffrey A. Davis said the fully-amortized, 22.7-year term loan was refinanced for the borrower, a South Carolina limited liability company, using the HUD Section 232 pursuant to Section 223 (a ) (7) funding program. The interest rate was not disclosed.

Privately owned since its founding in 1983 as a real estate investment banker specializing in commercial real estate properties, Cambridge today has three distinctive business units: FHA-insured HUD loans, conventional financing, and investments and acquisitions. The company is one of the nation’s leading nursing home, assisted living and healthcare debt and equity capital providers, with more than 400 closed transactions totaling more than $4.5 billion since the early 1990’s, when the firm began its specialization in providing senior housing capital.