Many patients in nursing homes will not be aware that their home has changed ownership. Many families will not receive much more than a brightly-colored and enthusiastic pamphlet of how the new owners plan to shake things up. But both parties trust that if there is a change in ownership, then it is only from one caring owner to an equally caring other. Unfortunately, in the state of New York, the new owner may be one with a history of negligent care.
How Negligent Care is Supposed to Be Prevented
As most people possessing common sense would assume, not just any individual is allowed to assume ownership of a nursing home in New York at will. They must first apply to be able to purchase the home, and then their application is sent to the New York Health Department’s Public Health and Health Planning Council, made up of 25 governor-appointed volunteers who either approve or reject each request.
Each of these volunteers throughout their six-year terms is expected to carefully weigh the evidence before them is to whether or not an applicant will provide quality care or negligent care to their residents. One problem, New York Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Woodbury says, as reported by The Buffalo News, is that its volunteers lack the time to thoroughly vet prospective owners and often rubber-stamp recommendations from the council’s staff.
This lack of scrutiny has led to council members concluding that applicants with tens of thousands of dollars of negligence and abuse fines against them for their existing homes to receive a statement of “no negative information” and acquire more nursing homes where the cycle of penalties for negligent care and acquisition of more homes continues.
Efforts to Contain Negligent Care
The New York government has responded to these outcries of poor and negligent care in recent years, and as of 2017 NY, Health Department staff have provided review council members with the federal ratings of an applicants nursing homes that they already own.
Despite this, in February of 2018, the NY council rubber-stamped three investors to buy into principal shares of a corporation that owns the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamsville. These three approvals went through despite the applicants having $86,884 of fines for negligent care at existing facilities with the potential addition of $173,110 for one home failing to protect a resident from abuse.
Moving Forward to Protect Loved Ones From Negligent Care
While the state may be attempting to protect residents of nursing homes from negligent buyers, there is still a solution to residents and their families. Vet the owners of any nursing home that you or a loved one may be staying in. If they own several one or two-star homes, consider a home owned by a different individual. Vigilance and attentiveness may be the best weapons against these negligent individuals.