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Nursing home concerns

To the Valley News:

Once nursing homes go private, faculty managers quickly cut costs; RNs cut by half, LPNs cut, CNAs cut; care for the residents were at an all time low as records collected by the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates. By many regulatory benchmarks, residents at those nursing homes are worse off, on average, than they were under previous owners according to an analysis by the New York Times of data collected by government agencies from 2000 to 2006. Regulators say residents at the homes have suffered.

At facilities owned by private investment firms, like Habana, residents on average have fared more poorly than residents of other homes in common problems like depression, loss of mobility and loss of ability to dress and bathe themselves, according to data collected by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The typical nursing home acquired by a large investment company before 2006 scored worse than national rates in 12 of 14 indicators that regulators use to track ailments for long term residents. Those ailments include bedsores and easily preventable infections, as well as the need to use restraints. Before they were acquired by private investors, many of those nursing homes scored at or above average in similar measurements.

“The first thing owners do is layoff nurses and other staff that are essential to keeping patients safe,” said Charlene Harrington, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco who studies nursing homes. In her opinion, she added, “Chains have made a lot of money by cutting nurses, but it’s at the cost of human lives.”

Is that what Horace Nye Nursing Home will be coming to? When will Palmer and the County Board of Supervisors start really caring about our residents at the nursing home instead of their own self interests?

Richard J. Tromblee

Moriah Center

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