CMS released “Observations on Therapy Utilization Trends”, a memo detailing the breakdown of rehabilitation categories and their corresponding numbers in nursing homes. Rehabilitation categories are broken down into Ultra-High, Very-High, High, Medium, and Low. Over the past two years the numbers for the Very-High, High, Medium, and Low categories has stayed relatively stable, but there has been a large jump in the Ultra-High Rehabilitation category. The therapy being provided was also found to be the bare minimum to pass state requirements, especially for the top two intensive therapy categories. The findings relate directly to the Medicare rates and proposed rule changes for the 2015 skilled nursing facility rates.

For more information, and a link to the memo, read the full article here.

KOAA had more about the jury verdict against the Sava facility in Colorado.  Belmont Lodge Heath Care Center has a history of substandard care, scoring just one out of five stars on their most recent Medicare health inspection. The suit also marks the second time in 12 months families of patients have sued the facility and won.

During the trial, Moss showed jurors that in the same year Sharon was admitted to Belmont Lodge, inspectors with the Department of Health and Human Services found the facility failed to meet nutrition and hygiene standards for patients with disabilities. The inspectors also found the nursing home failed meet standards for prevention of bed sores.

“He got absolutely no range of motion to prevent (muscle) contractures the first six months of his stay at the building,” said attorney Brent L. Moss. “As a result, he now continues to this day to suffer from those very same injuries. This was not an isolated event,” Moss said. “It was a pattern of practice that has gone on for the last 3 years.”

In fact, the company seems to have struggled to keep licensed nurses on staff. In 2011, turnover of Registered Nurses (RN) among the Belmont Lodge staff was 164 percent, a scenario Moss said created inconsistent care

“Witnesses testified, including this one particular licensed nurse, that they were fearful of their license, they left employment because they were fearful of their license.”

The nursing home is operate by Sava Senior Care, a nationwide nursing home corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia. The group manages more than 200 facilities across the country including 24 in Colorado.


KKTV reported the jury verdict against a facility of Sava, one of the largest national for profit chains in the U.S. Belmont Lodge Health Care Center in Pueblo will pay millions of dollars after the jury found it was negligent.  James Sharon has lived at the nursing home since 2011. His sister, Alice Franz, says he suffers from mild mental retardation and dementia. According to the complaint filed in 2013, her brother suffered from bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, UTIs, skin tears and abrasions, hyperkalemia (high potassium), multiple infections including E. coli and significant weight loss.  After nothing was done to help her brother, Franz was fed up and decided to bring these issues to court.

Last week, Franz finally found relief when the jury found Belmont Lodge Health Care Center guilty. Franz and her brother were rewarded $3.3 million. The jury allocated $300,000 because of negligence and $3,000,000 for punitive damages.

“He knew I was in court and I talked to him the other day… I said ‘How’d you feel that you get to leave here finally?’ He said, ‘Boy that would be great,'” said Franz. Franz says she’s happy her brother is getting the justice he deserves.

WSOCTV reported that Abernathey Laurels nursing home is under investigation by police and state officials after waiting to tell them and the family that their loved ones were sexually abused at the nursing home.  Family members were understandably frustrated after learning a week passed before they found out a male residence was accused of going into rooms and groping three women. At least one employee witnessed the male resident, who is described as confused and cognitively impaired, grope another resident.

“We trusted them with the precious thing we have, our mother, and we trusted them to take care of her and they did not,” said a man who did not want to be identified.

“We trust them with her care. If something like that happened we would want to know that moment. We would want to be there for her also, to go and comfort her and be there for her and we weren’t given that opportunity.”

You have to wonder if the delay by the facility was an attempt to cover up the abuse.

The Atlantic had a great article about the increase in life expectancy over the last hundred years and the need for a meaningful purpose for the greying population.

“Unfortunately, negative stereotypes are much more common than positive images; indeed, according to some researchers, ageism is more pervasive in our society than negative stereotypes based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. Our negative attitudes towards aging blind us to the fact that millions of people in their ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and beyond are robust, active, functional, experienced, capable and talented—and that they want to remain engaged and contributing. However, we have not yet created the social structures, roles, and institutions to capitalize on our success in adding years to life by also adding life to years.”

The NY Times has a form to find a doctor or other medical professional among the more than 800,000 health care providers that received payments in 2012 from Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits, tests and other treatments. Payments may also cover overhead, such as staff salaries and drug costs. In some cases, when doctors work as salaried employees of group practices, the payments that show up under their names go to their institutions.

On May 28, 2014, Not Dead Yet, the Center for Disability Rights and 11 other New York based disability organizations submitted public comments on the New York State Medicaid Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP). The comment letter called upon New York officials to eliminate one of the proposed projects, which they allege would fund Medicaid providers to save money by steering people to choose death over living with disability.

New York requested public comments because it is offering grants to Medicaid “safety net” providers with a high proportion of Medicaid patients to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. Among the 44 potential programs for grant applicants to consider are three palliative care projects.

One of these projects is entitled “Conversation Ready,” and promotes advance care planning as a means of reducing hospitalizations. For this to be effective, the comment letter states that people on Medicaid would apparently be encouraged to refuse life-sustaining treatment as part of their advance care plan.

Read More →

A health management company bilked two dozen investors out of a million dollars, a new suit filed by Dr. Arvind Mehta and eleven others claim. Dr. Mehta and others are suing Meridian Fontana Group, Meridian Health Services Holding Inc., and Meridian principal James Preimesberger of LA for various claims of fraud, securities fraud, and conversion.

Preimesberger never even bought the land for the nursing home and reneged on promises made to the investors. When investors found out about Preimesberger’s failure to build the home and sell shares, they asked for refunds, but received only some of their funds back. Where the money went is unclear, but Dr. Mehta and others believe he used others’ accounts in an attempt to hide the remaining investor funds.  See full article at Courthouse News Service.