Medicare and Medicaid funding (or potential lack thereof) has been one of the more prominent topics this election season on both national and local levels.

In Illinois, and many other states, advocates on behalf of nursing homes and management companies have cited to dwindling Medicare and Medicaid funding as justification for their inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to meet proper staffing requirements and provide adequate funding for their facilities — even in the face of protests this past year from nursing home residents, patients’ rights groups, and even their own employees.

Against this backdrop, Governor Quinn recently put into place a taskforce of sorts looking to control healthcare spending as relates to Medicaid recipients and attempt to comport with a recent state law that a minimum of half the state’s Medicaid recipients receive managed care by 2015.

Needless to say, ensuring that a higher percentage of people receive better care even with dwindling funds will not be an easy task. However, as a recent article notes, the Governor’s recent appointment of a prominent Chicago-area for-profit nursing home management company has raised a few eyebrows amongst nursing home patient advocates. As the article explains, the company in question manages numerous homes in Chicago and the surrounding area, some of which have been noted for lower than acceptable staffing levels and, in the case of one such home,

“a below average, two-star rating from the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare website, and the home was cited for failing to provide rehabilitation services for a resident, among other health and safety violations.”

Now, make no mistake, it is hard to imagine that any large nursing home management company is going to come away with a spotless record, but there are two trends that shouldn’t be considered synonymous, i.e.maximizing profit and efficient spending.

The chief complaint by patients’ rights advocates isn’t that nursing homes aren’t faced with a challenge by decreased public funding — certainly, they are — it’s what they do with the resources that they have, and the win fall profits that many have received this year, even in the face of decreased funding, absolutely speaks to this.

The bottom line is that these programs are far too new to be effectively judged on their merits, but if the goal is to reach the 50% threshold for Medicaid recipients in managed care within the next 2-3 years, then certainly a measure of skepticism over how they get there is healthy and appropriate.

You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have any questions and to learn how we may be able to help you or your loved one who has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect – in particular, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.

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