Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 22 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News   

Nursing Home Inspection Process Full Of Corruption

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   No comments
Message Evelyn Pringle
Nursing home companies invest heavily in local politicians to ensure the failure of efforts to pass legislation unfavorable to the industry and to buy protection against fines and penalties levied by state officials charged with investigating and monitoring the industry.

According to a September 2006 report by Consumer Reports, "they wield considerable clout in state capitals, where their $500, $1,000, and $3,000 contributions count with gubernatorial, state legislative, and judicial candidates."

For example, in Arkansas the nursing home industry was a top contributor for state candidates in 2004, according to, a nonpartisan database of campaign contributions. The Arkansas Health Care Association, which represents for-profit nursing homes, gave almost $100,000 to state politicians.

The Association also maintains an office near the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock, Consumer says, where lawmakers can stop in and get a free lunch 3 times a week during legislative sessions.

In return, Consumer Report states, "messages from legislators, subtle and not so subtle, filter down to regulators, who have learned that nursing homes will challenge them if they press too hard."

Grachia Freeman, a former nursing home inspector in Arkansas, said supervisors "would not let me write deficiencies I wanted to write" for a facility. "They were angry with me," she said, "for investigating and told me not to complete the survey."

According to the Consumer Report, this pressure "gives facilities the confidence to push back in so many ways, like appealing citations and sanctions because they know that state legislators tend to be very protective of homes in their districts," says Iris Freeman, principal consultant with Advocacy Strategy, a Minneapolis firm that works with community groups on behalf of the elderly and disabled.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 established a survey and certification process for states and CMS to verify that Federal standards are maintained in Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes.

CMS contracts with state agencies to certify compliance with Federal standards no less than once every 15 months. Additional surveys are also used to investigate complaints. The state uses information from the surveys along with a nursing home's past record to determine what action to take or recommend.

Critics claim that the inspection process has been corrupted by the industry and as a result the large for-profit chains are escaping punishment for blatant violations of federal laws set in place to ensure the proper care of nursing home residents.

A December 2005, Government Accountability Office Report on the quality of nursing home oversight lists 2 consistent and longstanding problems: (1) serious inconsistencies in the results of state surveys; and (2) continual understating of negative findings by state surveyor agencies.

One of the major problems critics say, is that nursing homes are being tipped off about the dates of inspections so that random surveys are seldom random and the predictability allows the nursing home staff to conceal the home's poor quality of care.

Elder abuse Attorney, Phillip Thomas, says, "honest nursing home employees will tell you that the facility knows when the inspectors are coming."

"The most honest employees on this issue," he explains, "are low-level employees who do not know that inspections are supposed to be without notice, so they do not know that they are revealing a secret."

"I have had CNA's flat out tell me that they "always" knew when the inspectors were coming and the facility cleaned up and broke out things like special linens for the occasion," he said.

Attorney Thomas, and attorneys, John Giddens and Pieter Teeuwissen, recently filed 2 lawsuits against the Beverly Enterprises nursing home chain and its related companies in Mississippi.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Evelyn Pringle Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for OpEd News and investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Glaxo Promotes Mental Disorders - Then Paxil

Government Investigation Finds Autism Vaccine Related

Paxil Five-Year Litigation History

Suicide Risk of Neurontin Kept Hidden for Years

Gambro Healthcare - Dialysis Fraud Pays Big Bucks

Johnson & Johnson Chirate Spinal Disc Under Fire

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend