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Medicare’s Nursing Home Ratings Hide Problems

Nursing home abuse can affect all individuals in assisted care facilities—even those with luxury amenities and the highest rankings.

Reports of abuse originate in from all areas of the country and affect all types of residential facilities. In the past week, allegations of abuse have been reported in multiple state, including:

  • Brownsville, Kentucky: Three individuals were charged with 69 counts of criminal elder abuse at Genesis Healthcare Edmonson Center Nursing Home.
  • Des Moines, Iowa:The Woodland Terrace care facility in Waverly was awarded the 2014 Governor’s Award for Quality Care even though it had just been cited for unsanitary conditions and failing to provide residents with meals as provided in their care plans.
  • Long Island, New York:A nurse at the Bayview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was charged with multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person.
  • Watsonville, California:Federal prosecutors are suing the Country Villa Watsonville East Nursing Center and County Villa Watsonville West Nursing Center for accepting over $20 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid payments, as well as persistently and severely overmedicating patients.

Many people who have loved ones in nursing or assisted care facilities are surprised when allegations of abuse surface, mainly because the majority of facilities have multiple stars on the government’s 5-star rating system.

The New York Times recently completed an investigation into the current rating systems, and found that many of these ratings are overinflated. The Times’ research showed that although 1/5 of nursing homes enjoy a 5-star rating from Medicare, these numbers are skewed because the data is largely self-reported.

Medicare uses three measures of quality to rate facilities. Two of the three measures are based on self-reported, unverified data. Additionally, the rating system does not take consumer complaints or government fines and punishments into account. Only the facilities’ annual health inspections are verified by a source which comes from outside the facilities themselves.

Two of the three quality measures are based on self-reported, unverified data.

The Times used Rosewood Nursing Home in Carmichael, California as an example. Rosewood is 5-star rated even though they were fined $100,000 last year, (the highest fine available to the state of California). In addition, the facility has racked up 102 complaints and a dozen lawsuits in the past four years.

This example is not unique. Of the over 50 facilities on the federal watch list for quality, nearly 2/3 rated themselves at four or five stars for staff levels and quality of care (the self-reported items), even though their health inspection results came in at one and two stars.

Advocates for elder care say that these rankings falsely inflate consumer confidence in the quality of care their loved ones are receiving. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we know that it can be hard to find accurate reviews of nursing home facilities. That’s why our attorneys advise everyone with loved ones in nursing facilities to speak with them often, visit frequently, and ensure that they are being cared for properly.

If you become aware of mistreatment in a nursing home, Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers will help you get justice for your loved one. Our experiencednursing home attorneyswill fight for you, and work to get you and your family the compensation you deserve. Call1-800-PERKINSto speak with an injury attorney today.


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