Recently, the Fort Myers News-Press and the Naples Daily News released a report accusing Consulate Health Care, the largest chain of nursing homes in the state and the sixth largest in the country, of poor patient care record.
According to the report, more than a dozen lawsuits were cited which indicted Consulate Health Care. The company, however, denied the allegations.
In a recent whistleblower lawsuit, the company was found guilty of overcharging for medical treatment which was unnecessary and misrepresenting care provided. Despite receiving a significant portion of their funding from the government in the form of Medicare, many nursing homes are business establishments aiming for big profits. The industry has however continued to consolidate, resulting in more homes being owned by fewer large profit-influenced corporations.
Florida Nursing Homes Neglect
In its response to the recent jury verdict, the Consulate Health Care argued that it would force a closure of the company’s seventy-seven Florida’s nursing homes. The verdict by the jury was however overturned by a judge in January citing that the Consulate had not done anything that triggered state or federal regulatory action.
In recent years, the state has unfortunately made moves to reduce the facilities oversight.
The Consulate homes have been repeatedly accused by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration for neglecting and mistreating patients, including several other violations that were serious enough to result in their closure. But according to state records, the typical sanctions were small fines. Although the agency made a threat to close down 53 of the company’s homes in Florida, it later rescinded on this action.
The idea of closing down 53 nursing homes is logistically unclear and it is a testament to how difficult it can be to regulate these large companies.
According to an investigation carried out earlier this year by The USAToday and a group of Florida, journalists revealed that even the most derelict nursing homes were left to operate, despite several reports on poor care and violations.
In a report by The News-Press, it noted that the Consulate which in 2016, reported that a $1.7billion operating revenue is a representation of an emerging trend in the nursing home industry. These homes are fast becoming avenues through which profits are funneled to wealthy investors. The report noted that a state-wide action against the chain will have a tremendous impact on a majority of the population of the nursing home.
Just as the Agency for Health Care Administration denied being lenient with enforcement, the state agency also denied receiving multiple requests from local and national journalists to talk about the issue.
Choosing a Florida Nursing Home
Judging by the current state of the industry, it has become pertinent that loved ones carry out thorough research into a facility’s record before putting their loved ones there. There are tremendous resources available on the floridahealthfinder.gov website which is essential for anyone looking to choose a nursing home. This resource includes violation history and facility reviews.
More often than not, families tend to fail to carry out proper research before opting for a nursing home. Their assumption is that a facility with poor safety records would not be in operation, having been closed by the state in partnership with a Personal injury attorney in Florida. This, however, is not the case.
For anyone who suspects neglect or mistreatment of their loved ones should contact a nursing home abuse attorney or a personal injury attorney in Florida to discuss their options.