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'Flipping' nursing homes increases the risk to patients

One thing that has the potential to lead to nursing home abuse is a lack of oversight and regular staff changes. When a nursing home changes hands, it can leave the staff and the patients without the necessary support that they need.

Buying and flipping nursing homes is done to make a quick profit, but that profit can come at the expense of the people who live there. Within the last three years in Pennsylvania, for example, there have been 100 nursing home sales or changes of ownership. Some were reorganized.

Why are nursing homes being sold so often? It's because the owners see a rise in the cost of care. Right now, the cost of care rises at a rate of around 2.5% per year. Medicaid reimbursements do not follow that trend. As a result, the homes are sold, but changes aren't made to improve care within the homes themselves.

There may be chronic understaffing, poor infection control and a lack of regulations. Fraud has been discovered many times, too, as in the case of one facility owner who was paying doctors to refer patients to him.

When a nursing home switches hands, everything about it can change. If your loved one is in a nursing home, it's important that they get appropriate care from a team that understands what they need. Neglect and a lack of communication can happen when there is a problem with staffing or regulations, and those issues could affect your loved one's care.

If you notice that there are a growing number of problems with your loved one's care, speak to the nursing home's management. If neglect or abuse is apparent, however, it may be time to seek legal support.

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