Skilled Nursing Facilities

LGBT Protections in Long-Term Care Facilities

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 219 (view here) into law – a bill aimed at protecting LGBT seniors from discrimination in long-term care facilities. The bill adds specific protections for LGBT residents of skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, and intermediate care facilities and enacts a Bill of Rights for LGBT Long-Term Care Facility Residents.

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The Times are A Changing

Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services have reminded all states of its commitment to the privacy of nursing home residents.  In the wake of recent publicity about nursing home employees posting degrading pictures of residents on social media, the federal entity has added a requirement that nursing homes have and enforce social media policies.  In a letter sent this week to all state agencies who administer nursing home licensing and investigations, CMS reminded agencies that nursing home residents have the right to privacy and protection from abuse.

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The Growing Epidemic of Senior Financial Abuse

According to the Investor Protection Trust, one out of every five older Americans has already been duped by a financial scam. Persons over the age of 50 now control over 70% of the nation’s wealth. As Willie Sutton once said about why he held up banks, the reason Seniors are now targeted is because “that’s where the money is.”  The General Accounting Office estimated that, for 2010 alone, financial elder abuse amounted to over $2.9 Billion. This figure is likely low because seniors often don’t report financial abuse because they are embarrassed that they have been scammed.

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Medicare Overbilling Rampant in Nursing Homes

A report by the Office of Inspector General issued on November 13, 2012, found that one quarter of all claims billed by skilled nursing facilities in 2009 contained errors which resulted in 1.5 billion dollars in overcharges to Medicare.  (The report is entitled “Inappropriate Payments to Skilled Nursing Facilities Cost Medicare More than a Billion Dollars in 2009.”)

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