Nursing homes are regulated in part by states and the federal government. In order to receive Medicare and Medicaid funds for patients, nursing homes are subject to inspections and must meet certain criteria to maintain eligibility for funding. However, oftentimes, these requirements are just too low to ensure the best patient care and sometimes focus on things unrelated to patient wellbeing.
Nursing home negligence is a problem in both Kentucky and across the country. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”) is looking at ways to better monitor and then incentivize or penalize nursing homes based on patient care and patient outcomes. There can be many reasons a nursing home misses a certain metric or receives a citation, but many are unrelated to true patient care and outcomes. Instead, focusing surveys on things that directly effect patient wellbeing is a better measure of the patient care being provided in the nursing home.
Also, CMS is looking at ways to incentivize lower performing nursing homes to perform better, and ways to actually penalize nursing homes that will get results. Because, in large nursing home chains, for example, a fine by the government is just the cost of doing business. They pay the fine and move on, while still providing bad patient care.
One metric CMS uses to rate nursing homes is the star system. Recently, CMS revamped their website, making it more user friendly. At Medicare.gov/care-compare you can look at nursing homes in your area and see their CMS star rating. However, what the Poppe Law Firm has found in handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases over the years, is that the CMS star rating can be deceiving. In handling nursing home negligence cases, the Poppe Law Firm looks at the data behind the star rating, to uncover the truth about the nursing home’s staffing, hours of direct patient care provided, nutritional services, and profits. Unfortunately, this data is not provided publicly and is only provided after a patient is injured and there is a lawsuit. Even then, the nursing homes fight in court to not have to provide us the data. Typically, the Poppe Law Firm is successful in getting the necessary data to show the true story of the nursing home and how it led to the patient’s harm. Just like a nursing homes are not the same, neither are all nursing home negligence lawyers.