Nursing Home FAIL

Posted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 at 11:59 am    

Taxpayers lose when the Trump administration relaxes these rules designed to hold nursing homes accountable when they injure patients.  Want to know why?

Here is a hint:

“Establishment” policies combine to bring more socialism to medicine. Its all about the money.

 

A few considerations:

  1. Who pays when nursing homes harm patients?
  2. Who takes responsibility? (and)
  3. Who suffers the most?

The simple answer to each of these questions:

  1. You the Taxpayer (or) a liability insurance company
  2. You and/or your government
  3. The elderly and their families who must rely on nursing home care

The long answer is the same but it requires some explaining.  Since Mississippi is particularly vulnerable to this rule change, we will use Mississippi as our example.  It just so happens, Mississippi’s nursing home industry is more rigged in favor of Nursing Home Industry Fat Cats than most places.

So, just how “rigged” is the Mississippi Nursing Home Industry?

  1. Tort Reform passed in 2002 and 2004 providing lots of protections to medical providers, including nursing homes. These new laws made it far more difficult to hold healthcare providers accountable for mistakes.  Tort Reform eliminated a deterrent for medical mistakes but it also means that Medicare, Medicaid and Private Insurance, like Blue Cross & Blue Shield are unable to recoup benefits spent due to hospital and nursing home negligence.  This is called “socialized risk” and its like getting a bailout every time someone is harmed in a medical setting.  You see, Medicare, Medicaid (taxpayers) and BCBS all have a right to recoup money when liability insurance is available.  When Tort Reform, was instituted, Medicare and Medicaid (the Taxpayers) fewer opportunities to recoup benefits spent due to hospital or nursing home mistakes.  Simply put, these policies have literally combined to socialize the risk for medical providers and the tax payers are picking up the tab. But the Fat Cats are still profiting!
  2. The Mississippi Legislature has repeatedly refused to require nursing homes to carry liability insurance.  If a nursing home has no liability insurance and they make a mistake which costs Medicare thousands or millions of dollars in medical benefits, the tax payer is left holding the bag.  This is opposed to the way things worked before: (Person is injured by medical mistake, Claim Made by Private Party or Family, Medicare Medicaid or BCBS Gets Their Money Back) Today, the nursing home owner or operator, instead of paying insurance premiums, simply profits off the government on the front end (Medicare and Medicaid pay for most nursing home care) and they get bailed out on the back end when they screw up.  What a deal!
  3. Now, the Trump administration is further deteriorating safety in nursing homes in Mississippi by removing key regulations designed to punish bad actors in the nursing home industry.

RECAP:  The Nursing Home Industry relies on government funds to operate and generate profit through Medicare and Medicaid.  The government then enacts policies that protect the Nursing Home Industry from having to take responsibility for its mistakes leading to the government and its taxpayers holding the bag and Industry Fat Cats keeping all the profit.  Ain’t that something!

The biggest losers in this mess are the people that must rely on nursing home care and their loved ones.  And, the tax payer.

Why are things like this?  The nursing home industry has a lot of very powerful lobbyist (and) because they get to keep a whole lot of money they shouldn’t by avoiding responsibility when they hurt people, they have plenty of money to elect friendly, Fat-Cat-Loving politicians.

My take:  The government should not be both the profit engine of an industry and also the protector of industry.  Safety Suffers, Patients Suffer, Taxpayers Suffer and Fat Cats Avoid Responsibility.