Nursing Homes in South Carolina Still "Unsafe and Deplorable"

Here we go again. An independent study of South Carolina nursing homes has found a broad range of substandard conditions which put residents at risk. The report, carried out by a non-profit organization called Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, identified, among other problems: roach feces, dirty mattresses and furniture, inadequate food supplies, insufficient medicine and medical equipment, lack of basic toiletries such as soap and shampoo, and staff who yell at residents.

On one hand, this is pretty shocking stuff: to think of seniors being treated in this manner, especially given the obscene price that these facilities charge. On the other hand, it is not surprising at all to anyone who has visited these places. Other than a jailhouse, a nursing home is about as depressing a place as you can find. To learn that something as ugly as elder abuse is occurring there is not terribly surprising.

The truly shocking part is that while so many of South Carolina’s 477 licensed nursing homes are providing insufficient levels of care, federal health inspectors found in 2012 that nursing homes nationwide overbilled Medicare $1.5 billion for services they either did not provide, or that residents did not need.

There is an obvious relationship between these two data points: spending less money on providing quality care (lowering overhead) and billing insurance companies and the federal government more (increasing revenue) both have the effect of generating increased profits. It should come as no surprise that nursing homes, which traditionally were operated on a non-profit basis by community and religious associations, have become–like higher education–a huge corporate profit center, preying upon unsuspecting citizens and feeding off of the government bureaucracy. Indeed, a full 78% of nursing homes now are for-profit outfits, operated not for humanitarian purposes, or because a decent society looks after its weakest, but because of a cynical recognition that there is money to be earned for the unscrupulous nursing home operator.

With America’s population aging, and with nurshinghome profiteering sharply on the rise, the opportunities for abuse of elderly residential care facilities are multiplying. We urge family members to be vigilant in ensuring that residents of these facilities are being properly cared for, and that the facility is not cutting corners to enhance profits.

Of all the people Traywick & Traywick is happy and honored to help, the families whose loved ones have suffered nursing home abuse are right there with military servicemen and servicewomen as our favorite clients. Whether it is neglect, verbal abuse, or outright personal injury, TLO’s lawyers are available right now for a free consultation about your family member’s situation.


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