Pursuit of profits may lead to abuse and fraud

The proliferation of for-profit nursing homes in New Jersey may offer residents a safe and stable living environment. However, there is a dark side to these homes. Unfortunately, the very people nursing homes are supposed to protect are often victimized and mistreated. Even more tragic, profits are often put before care as facilities work to produce as much of a profit as they can.

In the midst of chasing profits, fraud and abuse can continue unchecked. According to a report by Bloomberg News (and highlighted by the Huffington Post), the thirst for profit is having a tangible effect on nursing home care.

It found an increasing number of abuse and neglect claims, as well as wrongful death lawsuits directed at for-profit facilities. Essentially, the suits allege that for-profit homes took extraordinary steps to reduce costs (by minimizing the number of employees) in order to protect their profit margins. In turn, the lack of qualified staff played a large role in the lack of care that residents received.

Bloomberg also found an increase in the number of improper claims submitted to the government for patients covered by Medicare, especially for services that residents did not need. A report generated by the Department of Health and Human Services indicated that nursing homes billed $1.5 billion in improper charges in 2009.

These issues should move people who are considering nursing homes for their loved ones to take prudent steps to find out as much as they can before entrusting them to a abuse and neglect. For those who suspect that their loved ones are being mistreated, an experienced attorney can help.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com, For-profit nursing homes fuel rise in fraud and abuse charges, December 31, 2012

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