Kaiser Health News reported new worker protections for nursing home aides.  Nursing aides have the nation’s second highest rate of work-related injuries or illness.  Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants´┐Ż suffer a higher rate of work-related injuries or illnesses than even “hand laborers and freight, stock and material movers.” In 2010, work-related injuries and illness was 2.3 times higher in the nursing and residential care sector than all private industry overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nursing aides and other health care workers can slip or fall or strain themselves trying to lift people or equipment. They also face unique hazards such as workplace violence, exposure to “bloodborne pathogens,” infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or dangerous chemicals and drugs.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a new program, the National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, which calls for increased outreach efforts and a rise in inspections of on-the-job hazards. The new program plans to offer specific guidance on ergonomics and workplace violence, according to OSHA.

 

 

The Texas House passed legislation to protect nurses who report abuse by doctors. Will Rick Perry sign it or is he too busy running for President?

Senate Bill 192 protects nurses from being fired or punished for reporting rule violations or practices that put patients at risk. Doctors also could be fined up to $25,000 for retaliating against nurses. Nurses have immunity from criminal prosecution if they report violations in good faith.

 

The Hartford Business Journal had an article about recent financial problems of Connecticut nursing homes due to budget cuts and mismanagement.  The story mentions how nursing homes have sought bankruptcy protection from creditors.  "Six nursing homes in Connecticut have either been placed into receivership or filed for bankruptcy since Jan. 11. They include four homes owned by Maryland real estate investment trust Omega Healthcare Investors, which took ownership of the properties in 2008 from scandal-plagued and now defunct Haven Healthcare."  Dozens of other nursing homes are able to survive because of an interim Medicaid rate increase.

"The recent difficulties follow years of red ink within the industry, now compounded by a poor economy. It also comes at a time when the state is looking to aggressively shift 5,200 people out of institutional care and into community-based care over the next few years, creating even more questions about how the industry will adapt."

Of course, industry lobbyists only blame "underfunding" of Medicaid reimbursements instead of mismanagement and the siphoning of funds away from patient care to the corporate owners of the nursing home. As a result, management cut costs by reducing health care services and staffing. That has a direct impact on the quality of care being provided.

"Among the nursing homes swept up in the recent wave of receiver ships and bankruptcies are four homes owned by Omega Healthcare Investors, leased and operated by affiliates of Formation Capital and managed by Genesis Healthcare."

 

 

Seattlepi.com had an article about the lawsuit against the infamous Extendicare.  See article here.

The article mentions that the lawsuit against Extendicare has been expanded to include new allegations that the homes admitted residents with disregard to meeting their needs in order to boost profits. The suit also alleges that Milwaukee-based Extendicare Health Services violated consumer protection laws by advertising high-quality, skilled nursing care and failing to deliver.

Extendicare, which runs one of the largest nursing-home chains in North America, violated a state law that bars nursing homes from making residents sign a form waiving liability for injury or property loss. Extendicare is "more interested in protecting themselves from liability and thereby increasing profits than protecting the rights, health and safety of their own elderly and vulnerable residents," the complaint states.

Federal records show that nearly all of Extendicare’s Washington homes have higher-than-average scores for health deficiencies from state inspectors.