Nursing homes' accountability
The letter “Threat to nursing homes” (June 7 and TribLIVE.com) by the administrator of ManorCare Health Services-Shadyside failed to mention a number of significant facts relevant to ensuring good care for residents in nursing homes.
She claims Medicaid payments are insufficient to cover the costs of resident care. However, there is little accountability for how providers use the money they collect from taxpayers, whether it be for administrator salaries, care staff, service contracts, etc.
Staffing costs tend to be the biggest factor in direct care costs and staffing levels are widely considered the most important indicator of quality of care and quality of life for residents. Thus, it might interest Trib readers to know that her facility is owned by a for-profit corporation and that, according to Medicare's Nursing Home Compare website, this for-profit facility's registered nurse time per patient per day is 44 minutes, more than 20 percent below the state average of 56 minutes.
For years, the nursing home industry has blackmailed policymakers and the public by saying that it is not paid enough to provide decent care, dignity or quality of life for our elders. Yet nursing homes continue to be a desirable business for corporate chains such as the one that owns the letter-writer's facility.
Rather than throwing more money at the industry, we should be holding providers accountable for achieving the minimum standards that they promise to meet when they contract for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement.
New York City
The writer is executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition (ltccc.org).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.