Category Archives: Nursing.Homes

Are nursing homes in New Mexico putting profits over patients?

Source: David Martin, Al Jazeera America, August 6, 2015

Pineda wasn’t the only Casa Real resident to suffer. A 134-page complaint filed by the state of New Mexico in April 2015 alleges residents at the nursing home went hungry because they couldn’t feed themselves, fell because they couldn’t get assistance, and languished for hours in soiled bedding and clothes.  Casa Real is one of seven New Mexico nursing homes named in the state’s complaint, along with their current and former owners, Preferred Care Partners and Cathedral Rock, Inc. (At the time Pineda was admitted to Casa Real, the nursing home was still owned by Cathedral Rock.) The state alleges that the companies deliberately kept staffing levels dangerously low, all the while billing the government for services that were not provided and reaping millions in profits. … Since 2008, the seven nursing homes named in New Mexico’s complaint have generated more than $236 million in revenue, with almost 80 cents on the dollar coming from Medicare and Medicaid, the lawsuit says.  Preferred Care Partners, which purchased the nursing homes from Cathedral Rock in 2012 and is the 12th largest nursing home chain in the U.S., said in a statement that it “stands by the care it provides to New Mexico’s frail elderly and the dedication and commitment of compassionate staff who consider long-term care an honorable profession.”

USDA Announces First Private Sector Investments through U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Release No. 0218.15, July 28, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the first round of investments in rural infrastructure projects through the U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. Through the Fund and its expanded public-private partnerships, USDA has facilitated the investment of nearly $161 million in private capital 22 critical water and community facilities projects in 14 states… Investments include 11 community facilities projects in Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin, including building new nursing homes, constructing new preschool and day care facilities, constructing a new facility for a rural ambulance service that covers a 685 square mile area in South Dakota, and building or upgrading two new critical access hospitals in rural Illinois and North Carolina. In addition, the Fund invested in 11 critical water projects in California, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. Projects include upgrades to existing water systems and the construction of a new reservoir. At least 38 additional critical infrastructure projects are in the pipeline for investment. …

Planned sale of county care centers will be discussed at public hearings

Source: Christine Barcia, The Hub, July 28, 2015

Public hearings concerning the proposed sale of two Monmouth County care centers are scheduled for August. One care center is in Freehold Township and one care center is in Wall Township. After decades of operation by the county, both facilities will be sold by public auction as the county steps away from the healthcare industry. …. Arnone said the care centers’ employees will be kept informed during the privatization process and will be told how the changes will affect them. … As of July, there were approximately 114 residents and 165 employees at the Montgomery care center, and about 97 residents and 154 employees at the Thompson care center.

Related:

Monmouth County hires firm for nursing home sale
Source: Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press, May 4, 2015

Monmouth County hired a Chicago-based real estate firm to help it market and sell its two publicly-run nursing homes. Marcus & Millichap Investment Services, Inc. will earn a 2-percent commission on the sale of John L. Montgomery and Geraldine L. Thompson care centers, according to the resolution the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved Monday. The firm, one of three interviewed for the no-bid contract, helped six of the nine New Jersey counties who have spun off their nursing homes in recent years. …. The freeholders voted in March to move ahead with the sale after operating the two facilities at a deficit since at least 2007. In that time, the county spent $47 million to subsidize the care centers, not including any costs for 2015. The deficits had grown over the years, but have stabilized at about $7 million per year. ….

Monmouth County nursing home sale: 7 things to know
Source: Susanne Cervenka, Asbury Park Press, March 28, 2015

…The county will prepare requests for proposals, documents that will outline requirements potential buyers must abide by once they take control of the facilities. The details of those documents will be based on input from nursing home residents as well as the broader community, county officials said. Since that conversation is just now starting with the freeholders’ Tuesday vote to sell the centers, many of those details are still to be determined…

Monmouth County considering privatizing nursing homes
Source: MaryAnn Spoto, NJ.com, March 24, 2015

After years of grappling with millions of dollars in losses at two-county owned nursing homes, Monmouth County freeholders are considering privatizing the facilities. At a meeting scheduled for tonight at one of the county complexes in Freehold Township, the board is expected to vote on a measure that would give members the authority to explore selling one or both of the hospitals….Monmouth County officials have been struggling with ways to improve financial conditions at the Thompson Care Center, a facility with 135 long-term-care beds in Freehold Township, and the John L. Montgomery Care Center, a hospital with 205 long-term-care beds in Wall Township, since 2007….

Scott Walker signs state budget with 104 vetoes day before 2016 kickoff

Source: Mary Spicuzza And Patrick Marley, Journal Sentinel, July 12, 2015

As he prepared to kick off his presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the state budget Sunday after using his veto powers to excise grants for conservation groups and a provision that would have given payday lenders new authority. …. The two-year, $72.7 billion spending plan doesn’t raise taxes, freezes tuition at University of Wisconsin campuses, cuts university funding by $250 million and puts off until later a lasting solution for funding highways…Walker also used his veto powers to:
Make changes to an overhaul of the state’s long-term care programs known as Family Care and IRIS. Those elements dictated the process used to make sure rates paid to integrated health agencies were sound, specified the state had to have at least five regions for the programs, and put limits on when open enrollment periods could be held for the programs. The changes clear the way for Walker to establish one statewide program if he wants, instead of having it carved into regions. That would make it difficult for existing regional nonprofit entities to continue participating in the program and make it more likely that national for-profit corporations would…Kill a requirement that half the money the state receives for selling public land be used to pay off debt and half set aside for future land purchases. Walker said he wanted all the money to go toward paying off debt.

Families demand more staff at privatized Golden Hill nursing home

Source: Mid-Hudson News, June 24, 2015

Trouble is brewing at Golden Hill nursing home, the 240-bed senior care facility formerly owned by Ulster County, but privatized two years ago. Critics say resident-to-certified nursing assistant ratios at Golden Hill have significantly risen to 40-to-1 since privatization in June 2013. A loophole in state regulations leaves no minimum ratio for nursing homes, they said, and also fail to define how appropriate care ratios should be determined, or by whom.
Related:
Experts: Too soon to tell about Ulster nursing home – Neuhaus’ Ulster model invested millions but laid off half its workers
Source: Hema Easley, Chronicle, April 17, 2014

Ulster, which like Orange was underwriting its county-owned nursing home, transferred Golden Hill Health Care Facility to an LDC, which sold it to a private operator last June. Counties across the state are looking to sell off their nursing homes because many are running at a deficit. Neighboring Rockland County is currently looking for a buyer, but Ulster has completed the process…. When Golden Hill was taken over by VestraCare, it laid off all employees and required them to reapply for their jobs, according to media reports and the CSEA that represents Golden Hill employees. Shannon Cayea, the chief executive officer of VestraCare told the Daily Freeman that about 50 percent of the 244 employees were rehired though the CSEA said less than half were offered jobs. Ulster County paid out more than $1.5 million in separation costs to employees, the Daily Freeman reported. The remaining employees are still working without a contract nine months after they were rehired….

Some improvements after sale of county-owned nursing home to private firm
Source: Patricia Doxsey, freemanonline.com, March 16, 2014

It’s been nearly eight months since Ulster County turned the Golden Hill Health Care Facility over to a private company. By all accounts, the concerns and fears that surrounded the debate over whether the county should sell its nursing home to a profit-making company, have proven to be unfounded. In fact, Ken Hyatt, the head of the facility’s Residents’ Council, said that in some cases, conditions have markedly improved under VestraCare, the company that purchased the 280-bed facility. … Despite the opposition, Hein’s plan to transfer the facility to Local Development Corp. to market and sell the facility moved forward, and on Nov. 30, 2012, Local Development Corp. voted unanimously to sell the nursing home to Susquehanna Realty, a partnership comprising Dr. Anthony J. Bacchi, Martin Farbenblum and Edward O. Farbenblum. Ownership of the facility was transferred to that group on June 26, 2013. The group now operates under the name VestraCare which owns several nursing homes in New York and Long Island….

$11.25M bidder for Golden Hill chosen for its track record
Source: Michael Novinson, Times Herald-Record, December 1, 2012

The company selected to buy the Golden Hill nursing home wants to introduce new programs at the infirmary and bring 200 assisted-living beds to the Kingston Hospital site. Susquehanna Realty LLC will pay $11.25 million to buy 280 nursing beds, a 157,000-square-foot building and 20 acres of land in Kingston. The Golden Hill Local Development Corp., tasked with selling Ulster County’s infirmary, chose Susquehanna over five other bidders and announced its decision Friday. ….

Golden Hill may be privatized
Source: Michael Novinson, Times Herald-Record, November 16, 2011

Legislators overwhelmingly approved Tuesday the first step in privatizing Ulster County’s nursing home.

CSEA slams Hein over plans to privatize Golden Hill
Source: MidHudson News, October 6, 2011

Ulster County budget includes big changes for the Golden Hill Nursing Home
Source: John Wagner, YNN, October 5, 2011

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein unveils his 2012 budget proposal, including a 2.5 percent property tax increase and a plan to privatize Golden Hill Nursing Home. The future of Golden Hill’s 280 beds have been up in the air for quite some time, but now legislators must make a decision.

States want to do good: Here’s how Wall St. is helping

Source: Ali Montag, CNBC, June 23, 2015

Goldman Sachs could be coming to a pre-K program near you. Or, at least, that may be the case in Pennsylvania. The state is proposing to implement social impact bonds, where private investors, like Goldman Sachs, can provide the upfront cash for legislators to address problems, like early education. … The state is nearing the end of a 30-day review period to get perspective from citizens. Wolf identified five areas of focus that the funding could go toward: Early childhood care, education, recidivism and public safety, health services, and long-term living. ….

Why It’s So Hard to Find a Good Nursing Home in Texas

Source: Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News, May 18, 2015

The call from the nursing home came just before dawn, jolting Martha Sherwood awake. During the night, fire ants had swarmed over her 85-year-old mother, injecting their stinging venom into Natalie Sealy’s face, arms, hands and chest. … Their mother had chosen the for-profit facility two years earlier because it was near her adult children. The family didn’t know that Parkview scored poorly on staffing and other quality measures. This year, Medicare rates it one star out of a possible five stars — the lowest rating possible — on Nursing Home Compare, which was designed by the federal government to help consumers choose a long-term care facility….. For-profit nursing homes also tend to get lower quality scores than nonprofits, according to several studies. In Texas, 86 percent of homes are for-profit, compared with 70 percent nationally, according to the Kaiser Foundation report. States with more low-income seniors also tend to score lower. ….The debate over profits is complicated because it’s difficult to track profits and revenue, since many nursing homes are owned by private corporations or limited partnerships with complex ownership structures. “There’s plenty of profit being made by these facilities, but they’re shoveling it out through management contracts to themselves,” said Charles Brown, a partner in the law firm Brown, Wharton & Brothers, which is representing Sealy’s family in their lawsuit against Parkview. …. Nursing Home Compare gives Parkview one star for staffing, saying it provides about one hour and ten minutes of licensed nursing care per resident a day, compared with a Texas average of about one-and-a-half hours. It provides one hour and 56 minutes of care per day by certified aides, compared with a Texas average of two hours and 18 minutes. The national average is nearly two and a half hours. Allen said that one of his biggest problems is getting and keeping workers, noting that a local Dairy Queen pays $10 an hour, the same rate an entry level aide would make. He employs about 80 staffers, about three quarters of whom are nurse’s aides. ….
Related:
Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State
Source: Cristina Boccuti, Giselle Casillas, Tricia Neuman, Kaiser Family Foundation, Issue Brief, May 2015

Key Findings:
● More than one-third of nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid have relatively low overall star ratings of 1 or 2 stars, accounting for 39 percent of all nursing home residents. Conversely, 45 percent of nursing homes have overall ratings of 4 or 5 stars, accounting for 41 percent of all nursing home residents.
● For-profit nursing homes, which are more prevalent, tend to have lower star ratings than non-profit nursing homes. Smaller nursing homes (with fewer beds) tend to have higher star ratings than larger nursing homes.
● Ratings tend to be higher for measures that are self-reported (quality measures and staffing levels) than for measures derived from state health inspections.
● In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have relatively low ratings (1 or 2 stars). In 22 states and the District of Columbia, at least 50 percent of the nursing homes in the state have relatively high overall ratings (4 or 5 stars).
● States that have higher proportions of low-income seniors tend to have lower-rated nursing homes.

Bush wants to privatize some veterans’ health benefits, but in Florida it didn’t go so well

Source: Chris Frates, CNN, May 1, 2015

Jeb Bush’s effort as governor to partially privatize veterans health care services in Florida went so poorly it was ended shortly after Bush left office. That hasn’t stopped the former Republican governor, now in the early stages of running for president, from arguing veterans should be given the choice to see a public or private doctor, with either visit being paid for by the government. …. But Bush’s experience outsourcing veterans’ nursing homes in Florida was a case study in privatization’s pitfalls. By the time it was over, Florida officials determined the state could provide higher-quality care at a better price for taxpayers. …. In 2001, the state opened a veterans’ nursing home in Pembroke Pines, Florida, that contracted out its nursing and food services to a private company. The contract went to PhyAmerica. The company’s chief executive, a major donor to Florida Republicans who gave to Bush’s campaign, lost control of the company in 2003 after it went into bankruptcy, according to news reports.
Two similarly operated facilities were open in Florida by 2004. By then, the Pembroke Pines facility was already having problems. It was placed on the state’s list of facilities providing substandard care and ranked in the bottom 20 percent of facilities in its county, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported then. In one incident, the nursing home was cited after inspectors pulled the records of 10 patients and found nine were not being properly cared for, leaving them at risk for falls and accidents, according to the paper. One patient fell repeatedly before nurses found him on the floor with a half-inch deep gash over his eye. An Alzheimer’s patient escaped from a window before being spotted by staff, the paper reported……
Related:
Veterans’ Nursing Home Under Scrutiny
Source: Diane C. Lade, Sun-Sentinel, September 27, 2002

Flags flew brightly and old soldiers proudly snapped to attention on a breezy January morning as Gov. Jeb Bush dedicated the new Sandy Nininger State Veterans Nursing Home in Pembroke Pines — the long-awaited dream of local veterans who lobbied for years to bring long-term care closer to home. Twenty-one months later, Nininger is on the state’s latest Nursing Home Watch List of facilities providing substandard care. The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration online reports show that from March through July, Nininger had 29 deficiencies involving residents’ rights, privacy, care and management, as well as three safety code violations. The most serious came during a March 26 inspection, when Nininger was cited for failing to properly monitor nine out of 10 residents whose records state inspectors examined, putting them at risk of falls and accidents….

Florida takes over care at 3 nursing homes
Source: BY SCOTT ANDRON, Miami Herald (FL), Wed, Aug. 13, 2008

The state is taking over direct management of nurse’s aides and food workers at three veterans’ nursing homes, including one in Pembroke Pines. The 208 employees now work for a contractor, North Carolina-based PhyAmerica Government Services. But as of Aug. 29, PhyAmerica is laying them off, according to a notice filed Tuesday with the state labor department. ….. The PhyAmerica employees can apply for the new state jobs, said Courtney Heidelberg, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. …… ”It’s more cost effective, it’s better quality of care for our residents, and our employees get better benefits,” she said.

Nursing home workers to act on contract offer

Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, April 23, 2015

Since the former Otsego Manor was privatized last year, the nursing home, now called Focus Otsego, has had to cope with occasional staffing shortages, a situation the new management wants to rectify, according to minutes of meetings of the facility’s Family Council and a management spokesman. Meanwhile, the workers represented by the Civil Service Employees Association, the union that remained at the home after it was sold, will today be asked to ratify a labor contract that will increase wages “for those who have stayed and shown dedication to our residents,” said Kirk Dorn, a spokesman for the management company.
Related:
CSEA agrees to contract at former Manor
Source: Daily Star, December 6, 2014

Civil Service Employees Association workers at the now privately operated Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing at Otsego have approved a contract between the union and the management, the facility management announced Friday. Details of the contract were not released. Before it was privatized in October, the facility was known as the Otsego Manor. The county Board of Representatives decided to sell it to highest bidder after its public subsidy spiraled.

County hands Manor off to private operator
Source:Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, October 15, 2014

As Ken Tyler of Cooperstown approached the front door of the Otsego Manor on Tuesday afternoon on his way to visit his wife, Marjorie, a patient at the facility, workers exiting the building had just punched out for their last time as Otsego County employees. Following Tyler into the nursing home were nurses and other staffers who were about to sign in for their first time as employees of Focus Ventures, a private company.

Union: Manor workers face drastic pay cuts
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, October 3, 2014

The health care management company taking over the Otsego Manor has made wage offers to county nursing-home workers that are significantly below their current pay, the union for those employees said Thursday. Mark Kotzin, a spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association, said the employees began finding out this week that Focus Ventures wants to impose wage cuts of about 20 percent for certified nursing assistants and some other job categories.

County set to finalize sale of Otsego Manor
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, October 2, 2014

The now county-owned Otsego Manor is expected to formally become a privately operated nursing home next Wednesday. Focus Ventures was the high bidder for the nursing home, and is expected to pay the county $18.5 million to acquire the 174-bed facility…. Focus Ventures, headed by Joseph Zupnik and based in Rockland County, has required the current Manor employees to apply for the jobs they now have. County officials have said that they expect the company will keep in place most of the county workers now assigned to the nursing home. In recognition the service of four top Manor managers, the county Board of Representatives decided today to issue special one-time payments to each of them provided they remain on the county payroll through the day of the final transaction. Three of the non-union employees will get $10,000 each and the administrator of the Manor, Kurt Apthorpe, will get $20,000 within one month of the sale of the Manor, according to the resolution passed by the county board….

6 firms eye Otsego Manor purchase
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, August 20, 2013

Six companies involved in administering health care services have expressed interest in acquiring the 174-bed Otsego Manor nursing home, the chairwoman of the panel coordinating the effort to privatize the facility said Monday. The half dozen proposals were forwarded to the Otsego County Health Facilities Corporation (HFC) in response to a request for proposals issued two weeks ago, said Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta. She declined to identify the companies that are interested in purchasing the Manor…. Additional proposals could still be en route to the committee because the deadline for submissions is not until Sept. 27, she said. …The county board voted in January to contract with the Center for Governmental Research to serve as its consultant in the development and marketing of the Manor….

LDC formed to handle sale of Otsego Manor
Source: NEWSChannel 2, May 1, 2013

The Otsego County Board of Representatives has voted to create a Local Development Corporation to handle the sale of the financially plagued Otsego Manor.

CSEA takes aim at Manor sale plan
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, May 1, 2013

The central legal argument against a plan by Otsego County lawmakers to sell the Otsego Manor through a local development corporation deals with the fact they would have to declare the home no longer has a public purpose, a spokesman for the facility’s unionized workers said Tuesday. …

Editorial – Let LDC handle Manor sale
Source: Editorial, Daily Star, May 1, 2013

Board gets earful during Manor meet
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, April 30, 2013

Otsego County lawmakers were roundly criticized Monday night by citizens who accused them of forging ahead to create a local development corporation to sell the deficit-plagued Otsego Manor without first engaging in union contract talks and pressing the state for more aid…

Options for Otsego Manor to be explored this week
Source: NEWS Channel 2, April 9, 2013

The committee looking into selling Otsego Manor is scheduled to meet this week and vote on which plan, of three, will move forward. The first option is to sell the manor to the highest responsible bidder, the second is to create a local law to authorize a private sale of the nursing home, which would not have to go to the highest bidder, and the third option is to create a local development corporation and transfer the assets to it….

Meeting held to discuss future of Otsego Manor
Source: WKTV, March 23, 2013

Dozens of people packed in to the court house in Cooperstown Saturday to discuss the future of the Otsego Manor. The purpose of the meeting was to let the public know why Otsego County is getting out of the nursing home business and selling the manor to a private provider. The Manor’s administrator, Ed Marchi, says several options were looked at and found a lot of barriers for the home because it was operated by the county. Many residents are concerned about letting a private business take over what the county has built. …

Manor plan inches ahead amid outcry
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, March 7, 2013

A parade of advocates for keeping Otsego Manor a public nursing home failed to dissuade the county board Wednesday from moving ahead with authorizing a $35,000 expenditure to hire a law firm that will offer guidance on ways to sell the facility to a private buyer.

Judge voids vote to sell Otsego Manor
Source: Joe Mahoney, Cooperstown Crier, February 21, 2013

Ruling that the Otsego County Board of Representatives violated the Public Officers Law when it held a secret meeting dealing with the Otsego Manor, a state judge has voided the vote taken after that session to sell the nursing home to the highest bidder. The decision, handed down by Acting Otsego County State Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio, means that the board will have to again address the controversial proposal to privatize the 174-bed nursing home….

Board stays on path to Manor sale
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, February 20, 2013

Editorial: Ruling and vote clear air about Manor
Source: Editorial, Daily Star, February 21, 2013

Seward will not support tax hike for Manor
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, February 6, 2013

A plan to create a new stream of funding for deficit-plagued Otsego Manor by imposing a boost in the local sales tax rate ran into a roadblock Tuesday in the person of state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford….

Board urged to consider Manor plan
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, February 1, 2013

Plan to keep Manor faces doubt, scorn
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, January 29, 2013

A plan aimed at derailing the privatization of the Otsego Manor nursing home was dealt a setback Monday when Otsego County Rep. James Powers — who heads a key committee on the county board — pronounced the proposal dead on arrival. …

Union leader: Workers were never told about Manor sale
Source: Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, September 11, 2012

The leader of the union representing more than 200 staffers at the Otsego Manor nursing home said Monday the workers have not been consulted about last week’s decision by the Board of Representatives to sell the county-owned facility to the highest-qualified bidder….County lawmakers are searching for a consultant to help them find potential buyers for the 174-bed Manor. The county subsidy to operate the Manor is expected to grow from $3.2 million this year to $5.6 million in the year ahead, because of escalating costs and a decline in the state Medicaid reimbursement rate. …

Low-wage workers were cheated at care homes, U.S. says

Source: Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, April 7, 2015

More than 1,300 low-paid workers at Bay Area nursing homes and residential care centers were cheated out of minimum wages, overtime and other legally required payments totaling millions of dollars from 2011 to 2014, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday. …One case cited in the Bay Area report involved Farol’s Residential Care Home on Eucalyptus Drive near Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco. In a settlement approved by a federal judge in February, the owners admitted they had failed to pay time-and-a-half rates for overtime to 27 employees who worked more than 40 hours in a week between November 2011 and November 2013, and had failed to pay minimum wages to 14 of those workers. … Some owners have also retaliated against employees who complained about pay shortages, the Labor Department said. In August, Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said the owners of Lake Alhambra Assisted Living Center in Antioch had punished employees who reported violations by placing some of them on unpaid “vacations” for a week, and by making plans to sell the home to new owners who would replace the entire staff….