The reason I chose to cover the horrific nursing home murders still in the headlines here in Houston, is because there is a link between failing to plan responsibly for long-term care well in advance and tragic outcomes, whether or not they’re of the magnitude of the Lexington Place murders.
Many who can afford reasonably priced long-term care insurance simply won’t entertain it. They make excuses to avoid such conversations. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have.
The horror and negligence that occurred at Lexington Place Nursing Home may be isolated (or maybe not since most of us choose to turn our heads away from this type of event). Even so, the importance of these posts is to understand that such events may be indicative of a widespread trend that’s just beginning.
I’ve chosen to cover these tragic murders because to me, they’re the tip of the iceberg. The industrialized warehousing of the indigent who need care will increase as our national debt grows, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements continue to drop, and the partisan stalemate in Washington continues. And this financial catastrophe is approaching at an increasingly rapid rate as government programs are deluged with unprepared Baby Boomers who need long-term care but did not plan for it when they were able to afford and obtain reasonably priced long-term care insurance (LTCi). Sadly, events like the Lexington Place murders may become more common.
This blog and the one before it are meant to educate. If these tragic posts help even one person wake up and decide to defer their purchase of a new flatscreen TV or more expensive car in favor of buying a reasonably priced LTCi policy, they’ll be worth it.
LTC E-Alert #14-014: The Nursing Home Murders and LTC News and Comment
Monday, April 28, 2014
LTC Comment: Did you see the news coverage last week about two nursing home residents bludgeoned to death by their roommate in Houston? We opted not to cover it then, but the story does illustrate an important point. Nursing homes, especially those in poorer areas, are heavily dependent on Medicaid which pays them less than the cost of providing the care. Generous Medicare reimbursements help to make up part of the shortfall (at least for now), but the nursing homes most heavily dependent on Medicaid resort to cutting caregiver staff to a minimum and paying extremely low wages in order to operate.
So what? Well, Honey Leveen, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Long-Term Care” and the Center’s Regional Representative in Houston, draws out the ramifications in her recent blog post here. We encourage you to read it and to follow her links to more of the background. Honey points out that the nursing home in which the murders occurred has “nearly all” Medicaid residents. She opines that inadequate revenue led to dysfunctional management which resulted in poor care and finally in this awful crime. She links to an earlier article she wrote for LifeHealthPRO questioning the value of “Partnership” policies that leave people dependent on Medicaid’s mostly nursing-home based care.
This is sad stuff, but information all LTCI producers should consider as they advise clients on long-term care planning.