60 Seconds with Steve

When Profits Trump Care In SNFs

One family wins a $30 million verdict after citing irresponsibly poor care.

In case you missed it, The New York Times had yet another expose on the skilled nursing sector, this time blaming private companies for setting up separate entities that provide services, allegedly at higher prices than market, so their profits do not appear on the facility’s P&L.

One such company accused of using this strategy lost a lawsuit with a $30 million verdict after family members came in one day, removed their mother’s sock, and her foot looked like black charcoal. She soon went to the hospital and had her leg amputated above the knee. This is just plain inexcusable, and while there are always claims of financial “distress,” the owners apparently took home more than $10 million in profits each in 2014 from their 30-odd facilities.

All that despite, according to the testimony of a nurse, a shortage of diapers, sheets and linens, not to mention a $2 million deficit on the books of the facility in question. Look, we all know there is some underfunding in the skilled nursing industry, but when you hear stories like this, you have to ask, why? $30 million is way too high; but a blackened, uncared for foot says boatloads about the care. And that is the business they are in.

 

 

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