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Lobbyists may undermine nursing home quality


People in San Diego may have seen a recent editorial about the state of politics in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento and that policies that are decided at the state and federal level often come with significant corporate backing by way of campaign contributions and lobbying efforts. While this has been an inescapable reality of politics-as-usual for many decades, the columnist worries that this issue may be directly impacting the quality of care that nursing home patients in California receive. When the policies are influenced by large corporations that have a financial stake in the outcome of health care legislation, oftentimes the losers are those who are the patients of these corporations.

The article noted that certain California lobbying groups have donated a tremendous amount of money to political candidates and that in recent years such groups have enjoyed a number of favorable concessions under California law. For example, severely disabled persons in California should have the option of receiving home-based care as opposed to nursing home care but a majority of these people are shuffled into more expensive nursing homes, wherein the state willingly pays much higher sums to these nursing home operators.

Meanwhile, the cost of nursing home care has skyrocketed over the last 5 years from about $67,000 per year to around $83,000. However, according to the writer, the quality of care does not seem to be improving. One nurse described the nursing home neglect she saw while on the job, claiming that her patients were often denied the reasonable standard of care they deserve in order to seemingly protect the nursing home operator’s bottom line.

California disabled people and senior citizens deserve the best care available. Whether due to the issues argued by the columnist or more direct negligence on the part of a care provided, some patients will unfortunately end up being subjected to nursing home abuse. Victims of such abuse or neglect may wish to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can review the situation and help patients recover the compensation, and dignity, they deserve.

Source: San Diego Free Press “Lobbyists Keep Nursing Homes Healthy, Disabled Patients Not So Much,” September 25, 2013