According to the New York Times, nursing home facilities owned by private equity firms receive worse scores than the national average in twelve of the fourteen indicators that regulators use in tracking the ailments of nursing home residents. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid state that residents of nursing homes owned by private investment firms suffer from higher rates of depression, mobility loss, and the loss of the ability to bathe and dress themselves. Facilities of these companies are also restrain residents for long periods of time more often than facilities that are not privately owned.
The report in the New York Times influenced Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate whether or not abuse and neglect are more common in nursing homes owned by private Wall Street equity firms.
Last week, it was announced by two congressional committees that there would be investigations concerning the business practices of nursing home facilities that are owned by private investment groups. John D. Dingle (D-MI), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Barney Frank (D-MA) head of the Financial Services Committee will head the inquiries, however the scope of the inquires have not yet been determined. A spokeswoman said that inquiries will most likely include hearings and proposed legislation.
The acquisition of many nursing home facilities by private investment groups has affected the care of millions of patients. In August, Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, won antitrust clearance to purchase Manor Care Inc, the country’s largest owner of nursing homes for $4.9 billion. In January, Genesis Healthcare Corp., another large nursing home facility chain, was bought by a private equity company. These equity firms show a tendency to decrease the amount of employees and care given by employees in order to gain higher profits.
Private investment firms not only have a higher percentage of abuse and neglect, they have also made it more difficult for victims of abuse and neglect and their families to file lawsuits. The firms are structured so that they are so complex that it becomes unclear as to who exactly owns each nursing home.
The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving neglect or abuse at nursing homes. These cases can involve the deprivation of the nursing home resident’s civil rights, enabling recovery of attorney’s fees and possibly punitive damages pursuant to Article 28 of the Public Health Law.
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