Increasingly, patients in the United States are relying on private medical care providers. Over the past several decades, more and more nursing homes, hospitals, and other health service institutions have purportedly privatized. Unfortunately, the profit status of a health care facility often affects the care provided to patients. For example, for-profit hospitals are reportedly less likely to offer necessary medical services that do not create large profits. Although this is generally good news for shareholders, it can spell disaster for patients. According to one study, patient deaths increase sharply when non-profit hospitals become privatized. Staffing levels also allegedly tend to decline.
In the U.S., private companies purportedly provide more essential social services than in any other industrialized nation. Some believe this has resulted in lower quality care for our nation’s sick and elderly. Instead of lowering costs and eliminating waste, privatized nursing homes and hospitals reportedly now provide physicians and other direct care staff with financial incentives to maximize profits without incurring any additional expense. Sadly, this can have an effect on patient care. According to a study regarding Medicare spending, no taxpayer money was saved when private Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) were used. Additionally, another study claims the cost of Medicaid increased by about 12 percent without any increase in quality when recipients began utilizing HMOs.
A Wisconsin study found that non-profit nursing homes tend to administer fewer sedatives than for-profit enterprises. In some areas, residents at for-profit nursing facilities allegedly receive an average of four times more tranquilizers than those living in a government or non-profit managed facility. Economist Burton Weisbrod believes this disparity has arisen because such drugs are cheap and tend to incapacitate patients who may otherwise require additional care or stimulation. He said programs designed to keep skilled nursing facility residents engaged cost money. In addition, so does the staff required to administer the programs.
Over-medicating nursing home residents or employing an inadequate number of direct care staff in an effort to increase a company’s bottom line is not acceptable. An inadequate number of well-trained nursing home employees is a common cause of abuse and neglect at skilled nursing facilities throughout Illinois and the country. Fortunately, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act was established to increase the quality of care received by nursing home residents in our state. Pursuant to the law, all skilled nursing facilities in Illinois must provide at least 2.5 hours of direct care per day for each patient. Additionally, all nursing homes operating within the state must provide 3.8 hours of direct care staffing for every resident prior to January 1, 2014.
If your loved one was the victim of either abuse or neglect while residing in an Illinois long-term care facility, you are advised to contact the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our quality Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly or disabled friends and family members. For a free confidential consultation with a hardworking Illinois attorney, please give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596 or contact us through our website.
Researchers Claim Dementia Patients at Increased Risk of Death Following an Emergency Evacuation, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2013
Nursing Homes in Illinois and Throughout the Nation Are Often Not Equipped to Handle Brain-Injury Patients, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, January 10, 2013
Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix, by Eduardo Porter, New York Times