Corporate Greed Affects Quality of Care in Some Nursing Homes
When you place the care of a loved one in the hands of a nursing home, one must have investigated them thoroughly to expect professional, compassionate, and attentive care. Unfortunately, a focus on corporate profits often leads nursing home owners and managers to cut corners on providing responsible care. This may create dangerous living conditions that leave your loved one at risk of neglect and serious injury.
Across the nation, the impact of corporate profit-seeking on the quality of care in nursing homes is becoming more apparent. A recent article in The New York Times highlighted cases in which nursing homes were so underfunded that patients suffered debilitating injuries. The article pointed out that some nursing homes lacked basic resources, in part because of excessive outsourcing.
The Times article points out that nursing home owners are relying increasingly on the practice of outsourcing the provision of basic goods and services to related-companies in which the owners’ have a financial stake. The savings from outsourcing, or other cost-cutting measures that nursing homes take, may not necessarily be re-invested to hire more staff or reduce the overall cost of services. Instead, the pressure to increase profits drives nursing home owners to pocket the profit that they gain from outsourcing.
Nursing Home Outsourcing and Legal Liability
Businesses are very careful when deciding how to structure their organization to reduce taxes and maximize profits. Today, there are a handful of business structures that are commonly used in the U.S. The business structures have different legal and tax ramifications. When a nursing home decides to outsource a particular service to another corporation, it may to do more than just save money. The nursing home owners may be trying to shield their personal assets in the event that a personal injury lawsuit or other form of liability arises.
Understanding how these corporations operate is crucial if you want to hold them accountable for providing poor care. This is often referred to a as ‘piercing the corporate veil.’ Certain business structures are meant to protect the business owner from personal liability for causing harm. Legally, this can create a very difficult situation for injured nursing home patients and their loved ones who seek justice and compensation for the harm they have suffered. When a nursing home is sued, it is more difficult to collect damaged from a related company.
Hiring an experienced attorney that understands how these corporate structures operate is essential if you intend to take legal action against a nursing home or long-term care facilities. It may take extensive research and investigation to determine how nursing home owners conduct business with sister corporations and who controls the sister corporations.
Dangers of Outsourcing Nursing Home Services
When basic nursing home services are outsourced to sister companies owned by the same groups of people, the patients may end up bearing the consequences. The drive for profits may foster conditions that make neglect or abuse of nursing home patients more likely. Potential dangers include:
- Insufficient staffing :- Nursing homes must complete a rigorous reporting and certification process. However, when nursing homes outsource essential services, the sister company may use different strategies and employ fewer. Without adequate staff, easily avoidable mistakes may be more likely to occur. Understaffing puts nursing home nurses and aides under added stress and means that patients may not receive adequate attention. Shortages can affect the overall social and physical health of patients.
- Inadequate training :- When the focus is on profits, nursing homes may be less likely to monitor the level of training received by their own staff or the staff employed by contracting companies. This lack of oversight, however, could potentially lead to dangers for nursing home patients who are dependent on nurses and staff for their well-being.
- Lack of supervision :- The use of various corporations to provide nursing home services may lead to poor integration of quality and safety monitoring. Such supervision is critical in a nursing home where patients rely on caretakers and may not be able to raise concerns about improper care, neglect or abuse. Proper supervision will also help minimize safety hazards such as medication errors that could lead to serious injuries.
- Incomplete or false reporting :- When you place the care of a loved one in the hands of a nursing home, being able to trust the staff to report on conditions honestly and accurately is critical. Yet understaffing may create excessive time pressures, and staff may therefore fail to report ongoing conditions. An oversight caused by rushed or false reporting could exacerbate any existing shortcomings in the operation of a nursing home and lead to an injury.
Nursing homes should protect patients. By contracting with sister corporations in order to rack up profits, nursing homes may be essentially prioritizing financial gain over maintaining a high standard of care. This is understandably concerning, and poses several legal liability issues.
As some recent cases suggest, courts recognize the importance of protecting nursing home patients and their loved ones from injuries stemming from neglect and abuse. You may be able to sue for compensatory damages if a corporate-run nursing home has injured your loved one.
With the help an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer, you may be able to hold accountable a nursing home that has caused harm and get the compensation that you and your loved one deserve.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, it is important to talk to a lawyer about your legal rights and options. The Becker Law Office has experience helping families whose loved ones have been neglected or abused in a nursing home or elder care facility. We are ready to help you take aggressive legal action to ensure your loved one gets the best care possible and that those responsible for the injury are held accountable for their actions. Contact us at (502) 333-3333 or online to learn about how our experienced attorneys can help you during this difficult time.