Illinois Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Warn of the Devastating Impact of Medicaid Cuts on Nursing Home Residents

December 9, 2011

Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers strongly advocate on behalf of all nursing home neglect and abuse victims who suffer from poor quality care. We recognize the dangers of proposed Medicaid and Medicare cuts, which negatively impact skilled nursing facilities and their residents. A new report by Gannet News Service illustrates the devastating consequences that federal funding cuts have on our most vulnerable seniors.

The latest report is based on a nationwide survey by Avalere Health, which found that nursing homes plan to lay off at least 20,000 workers and cancel more than 400 planned renovations or expansions. These deep cuts are the result of a new federal regulation that will reduce Medicare funding to nursing homes by nearly $80 billion over the next 10 years.

Budget cuts threaten the safety and stability of nursing home residents and directly impact the quality of care that they receive. Many facilities are already struggling to provide the care that residents need due to a lack of resources and adequately trained staff. Further cuts will only worsen the treatment of these residents and lead to even more cases of nursing home neglect and abuse.

The report focused on Ohio nursing homes, where state Medicaid payments were cut by approximately 5.8 percent on July 1, 2011. Since that time, more than 300 nursing facilities laid off 2,800 employees and other homes cuts worker's pay or benefits. At least four Ohio nursing homes are expected to close by the end of the year. The state also saw an increase in the number of nursing home neglect and abuse complaints, including a noticeable rise in the number of the most serious inspection violations. This shows that staffing levels are directly related to quality care, and the well-being of nursing home residents is at stake when rates are cut. When fewer employees are expected to care for an increasing number of nursing home residents, including many that require extra supervision for chronic health conditions, the consequences may be deadly.

In Illinois, the impact of federal healthcare cuts will be just as dramatic. State Medicaid cuts are also anticipated, with Governor Pat Quinn's proposed 2012 budget predicting a $70 million cut for Illinois nursing homes. Capitol Care Center is one of many nursing homes that will be deeply affected, expecting to lose about $400,000 in the next fiscal year. The facility's administrator has acknowledged that staff and service levels will have to be cut, which will negatively affect patient care.

Illinois elder abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understand the serious and sometimes deadly consequences of poor nursing home care. We have worked with countless nursing home neglect and abuse victims and their families, who have been harmed by inadequate supervision and other staffing-related complaints. State law requires that nursing homes provide adequate supervision for all residents, and nursing homes that fail to adhere to this legal standard can be held accountable for the injuries that occur.

Elderly nursing home residents who are not properly supervised are at high risk for bed sores, falls, and serious infections such as sepsis and gangrene. Funding cuts further endanger the lives of many nursing home residents, with at least 65 percent of all seniors relying on Medicate and Medicaid for treatment. In order to compensate for lost revenue, nursing facilities will have to make even more staffing adjustments, directly impacting the quality of care patients receive. When patients are harmed by inattentive care, a nursing home negligence lawsuit can help compensate for their injuries and losses.