Political and National News of Interest
Nursing Homes Routinely Mask Low Staff Levels
By Jordan Rau, July 7, 2018 New York Times
ITHACA, N.Y. — Most nursing homes had fewer nurses and caretaking staff than they had reported to the government for years, according to new federal data, bolstering the long-held suspicions of many families that staffing levels were often inadequate.
The records for the first time reveal frequent and significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, with particularly large shortfalls on weekends. On the worst staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.
The data, analyzed by Kaiser Health News, come from daily payroll records Medicare only recently began gathering and publishing from more than 14,000 nursing homes, as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Medicare previously had been rating each facility’s staffing levels based on the homes’ own unverified reports, making it possible to game the system.
U.S. Pays Billions for ‘Assisted Living,’ but What Does It Get?
By ROBERT PEARFEB. 3, 2018, New York Times
WASHINGTON — Federal investigators say they have found huge gaps in the regulation of assisted living facilities, a shortfall that they say has potentially jeopardized the care of hundreds of thousands of people served by the booming industry.
The federal government lacks even basic information about the quality of assisted living services provided to low-income people on Medicaid, the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, says in a report to be issued on Sunday.
Billions of dollars in government spending is flowing to the industry even as it operates under a patchwork of vague standards and limited supervision by federal and state authorities. States reported spending more than $10 billion a year in federal and state funds for assisted living services for more than 330,000 Medicaid beneficiaries, an average of more than $30,000 a person, the Government Accountability Office found in a survey of states.
Klobuchar: Rollback On Protections For Seniors ‘Makes Me Concerned’
January 7, 2018 at 11:15 pm
Obstruction Of Justice Claims Plague Trump
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the current administration is rolling back protections for seniors living in nursing homes.
In November, the Star Tribune reported 97 percent of allegations of neglect, physical abuse, unexplained serious injury and theft in Minnesota senior facilities were never investigated.
After that, the Minnesota Democrat asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent elder abuse.
Now she says the current administration is taking a step in the wrong direction by rolling back protections for the elderly.
“It really makes me concerned,” Klobuchar said. “It’s one thing to be pragmatic about it, it is another when you have a back log of complaints, an increase in incidents, a doubling of our senior population by 2050, you should be doing more enforcement and not less.”
Klobuchar said she believes Minnesota state officials are taking action, but the federal government should be doing more.
Families of elder abuse victims speak out, wield new power at the State Capitol
By Chris Serres Star Tribune DECEMBER 2, 2017 (Front page)
Elder Voice members visited the Capitol on Friday to meet with Gov. Dayton’s administration about abuse in senior care homes.
They are members of a group that no one would want to join. But they are growing in numbers and political influence.
They are the daughters, sons, spouses and other relatives of vulnerable adults who have been physically or emotionally abused at senior care facilities across Minnesota.
In recent weeks this coalition, known as Elder Voice Family Advocates, has emerged from obscurity to play a central role in early efforts by the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton to reform Minnesota’s troubled system for responding to violent crimes and other forms of abuse in senior homes.
Gov. Dayton calls for new elder-abuse work group
He'll appoint AARP officials to lead reform efforts ahead of 2018 Legislature.
By Chris Serres Star Tribune NOVEMBER 30, 2017 — 8:58PM
…The work group will engage other consumer-oriented organizations, including Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota Elder Justice Center and the grass-roots Elder Voice Family Advocates.
Klobuchar presses for tougher action against abuse in senior homes, citing Star Tribune series
Chris Serres, Star Tribune, November 30, 2017
The federal agency that regulates nursing homes must take more aggressive steps to prevent and respond to violent crimes and other forms of abuse in senior care facilities, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Tuesday. In her letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she cited a five-day, Star Tribune special report.
Serious nursing home often not reported to police, federal investigators find
Ina Jaffe · NPR · Aug 28, 2017
More than one-quarter of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported to the police, according to an alert released Monday morning by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Trump Moves to Impede Consumer Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes
AUG. 18, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is pushing to scrap a rule that would have made it easier for nursing home residents to sue nursing homes for injuries caused by substandard care, abuse or neglect, bringing its campaign to relax federal regulations to the delicate business of care for older Americans.