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As Nursing Homes Chase Lucrative Patients, Quality of Care Is Said to Lag


On April 14, 2015, the New York Times reported that due to nursing homes’ cutthroat race for lucrative Medicare dollars, many persons who need long term care funded by Medi-Cal are being left behind. The article quotes Tony Chicotel, CANHR’s staff attorney, describing how the nursing home “focus on Medicare, Medicare, Medicare has pushed out people in the custodial care world” and has led to an epidemic of resident evictions when their Medicare coverage ends.

The Times explains that nursing home residents on Medicare are facing their own problems. Lucrative Medicare rates have led to record breaking sale prices for nursing homes, but the quality of care has not kept pace. The article states many nursing homes are short on nurses and aides and not up to the challenge of providing the intensive medical care that rehabilitation requires. They promise care that they cannot deliver. The Times cited the eye-opening 2014 report by the DHHS Office of Inspector General that found a third of Medicare beneficiaries who went to skilled nursing facilities for short term care suffered adverse events or other harm.

The article also describes the common problem of managed care plans, hospitals and insurers sending patients to nursing homes with poor records, naming Kaiser Permanente as one of the offenders.