A July 25, 2014 story in McKnights, by Tim Mullaney, reports on a $14 million award ($12.5 million was awarded in punitive damages) to the family of a nursing home patient. This story was also covered in the Boston Globe on July 24, 2014.
Quoting from the Globe story, “Judge Krupp instructed the jury that while punitive damages can be awarded for a company’s bad behavior, they can also be used to dissuade other nursing homes from similar conduct…the judge explained that the whole purpose of the punitive award is to send a message that you can’t get away with this anymore.”
How wonderful if the problem could simply be fixed by a judge using the court system to “teach a lesson”!
Again, the 8,000 pound elephant in the room is being ignored.
Especially in Texas, but throughout the country, nursing homes get paid less per diem than it costs them to care for their patients. Medicaid, which pays for the majority of long-term care in the US, needs an overhaul.
There is no doubt in my mind that the nursing home sued accepted mostly Medicaid patients. Here are a couple of blogs I did about murders that occurred in Lexington Place nursing home in Houston. Lexington Place accepts mostly Medicaid paid patients.
When nursing homes do not get paid enough, there are not enough caregivers. This directly affects the quality of care nursing home patients receive.
Click here for several blogs I’ve done that explain why Medicaid paid nursing home care often leads to sad outcomes.
Those of us who own long-term care insurance (LTCi) are far more likely to have the money to avoid nursing homes and receive care at home or in an assisted living facility.