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Nursing Homes and Private-Equity Firms: Dangers of Abuse

Does the type of corporation, entity, or individual that owns a nursing home in San Bernardino County affect the likelihood that the facility will be a place where nursing home abuse or neglect occurs? A recent article in Market Watch highlights the particular dangers of facilities that have been bought by private-equity firms and that may not be putting patients first. Indeed, according to that article, residents at many of these facilities face “a threat of imminent danger of death or bodily harm” as a result of poor care at various facilities and California’s failure to take action, according to a judge in the state. That judge described the state government’s failure to protect seniors in nursing homes as a “consistent, endemic, and statewide” problem centered on a lack of investigations into complaints and accusations that have been made against these facilities. 

That recent court decision in California highlights the need for state agencies to take more significant action to protect nursing home residents from injuries caused by abuse and neglect.

California Court Says Department of Public Health Has Failed Nursing Home Residents

In the recent California case discussed briefly above, the California Superior Court determined that the California Department of Public Health has failed to protect residents by failing to conduct timely and proper investigations at skilled nursing facilities in the state. Indeed, according to the Market Watch article, the court revealed that the Department has been “sitting on a backlog of over 5,000 complaints, including many dating back to 2018.” During the court case, the Department alleged that the pandemic was the cause for delay, yet the numbers do not support that argument.

The Department is supposed to begin an investigation into any nursing home abuse complaints within 10 days of receiving the complaint, and is supposed to complete the investigation within 60 days (or, at a maximum, 120 days). Yet thousands of complaints have not been adequately investigated, and thousands of investigations remain open still. The judge emphasizes that the Department’s actions (or inactions, as the case is here) “are not isolated incidents,” and the Department’s “inability to meet the statutory deadlines is institutional and longstanding.”

Are Nursing Homes Owned by Private-Equity Firms to Blame?

The Market Watch article also cites a new study in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA, which says that private-equity firms own approximately 5% of all nursing homes across the country. While that is a small percentage, these skilled nursing facilities are responsible for more than 10% of hospital emergency room visits for nursing home patients who are diagnosed with preventable injuries or conditions.

That information, according to Market Watch, suggests that there is only an increasing need for the California Department of Public Health to do significantly better when it comes to conducting nursing home investigations in a timely manner and ensuring that nursing home residents are safe.

Contact a San Bernardino County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you have any questions about seeking help for an elderly loved one who has been injured in a nursing home, our San Bernardino nursing home abuse attorneys are here to assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help with your case.

 

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