Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vulnerable group

January 20, 2010


With 10 percent cuts in Medicaid reimbursements going into effect this month, it is imperative that state agencies and nonprofit groups redouble their efforts to monitor conditions and care in nursing homes across the state.

Many Kansas nursing homes do a wonderful job of caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, but such a significant loss of state support will make that more difficult. They will be forced to cut corners to make ends meet. It’s important to make sure they don’t cut in ways that compromise their residents’ care and safety.

The Kansas Department of Aging is required to inspect every Kansas nursing home once a year. According to the department’s annual report for the fiscal year ending July 2009, there are 316 Medicaid-certified nursing homes serving an average of 10,809 Medicaid-eligible residents each month. These are the people whose own financial resources have been depleted to the extent that they can’t cover the costs of their own care.

The 10 percent reduction in Medicaid funding will have a devastating effect on nursing home budgets. Some may be forced to simply quit accepting new Medicaid residents. Others will be forced to try to cover their costs with significantly less money.

Such financial pressures take a toll. To stay afloat, nursing homes must make tough choices about staffing and services. Even if they do the best they can, some of those choices could have a negative impact on patient care.

In addition to the efforts of the Department of Aging, the state also is fortunate to have the nonprofit Kansas Advocates for Better Care keeping an eye on the quality of care provided at Kansas nursing homes. KABC was founded in 1975 as Kansans for the Improvement of Nursing Homes largely due to the efforts of Lawrence resident Petey Cerf.

KABC regularly publishes information on nursing home inspections, listing those homes with the least deficiencies, as well as those with the most. The group also maintains a toll-free line (800-525-1782) for long-term care information and a Web site ( that directs consumers to other resources for legal or long-term care assistance or to report suspected abuse or neglect.

During the current budget crisis, much attention has been focused on the impact budget cuts will have public schools and higher education. That attention is justified, but the residents of state nursing homes, many of whom are unable to advocate for themselves, also demand the state’s attention and support.


SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 5 months ago

Start saving now for your golden years. You should have absolutely no faith that the government's so-called safety net will be there when you retire.

In the meantime, do everything in your power to keep the government from taking more and more of your earnings.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

The medical insurance industry will be taking more of your earnings AGAIN this year with a 20%-25% increase in premiums or reduced coverage or increased co-pays or increased deductible OR all of the above.

That is dumb economics. When will americans step up to the plate and say ENOUGH.

Demand Expanded Medicare for ALL. It would the best buy americans have experienced in decades. Its still possible.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 5 months ago

Give American workers the choice to opt out of Medicare and Social Security immediately.

The 12.4% Social Security penalty alone is enough to make the fiscally responsible among us cringe. Can you imagine what you and your family could do with 12.4% more of your earned income?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

My daughter and granddaughter have both stated that they know they are going to have to plan very carefully. But, events happen that can not be predicted. Everyone who is in a medicaid funded nursing home was not irresponsible. This should be a wake up call to those who are young to take a serious look at their health now, and the habits they have now that can lead to trouble down the road.

Tammy Copp-Barta 8 years, 5 months ago

As the granddaughter of a resident who lived in one of the nursing homes in Lawrence who was beaten and later died - it is VERY frustrating to read this kind of news. They already hire many people who have basic or no skills to take care of these residents and many times are required to work many shifts in a row. So many of these residents either cannot communicate or you are unable to make sense of what they say due to dementia. There is nothing sadder and more infuriating to see residents dropped off in these facilities and the families seldom or never check on their well-being.

My mother and I both worked with the KABC during my grandmothers case to try to educate people about signs to look for when choosing a home as well as what to look for when you visit. PLEASE VISIT YOUR LOVED ONES. Not only does it make their day, but you can then see the conditions of the facility. Many times these facilities pass inspections because they cleanup their act right before somebody shows up .. the rest of the year they are back to their same old ways.

While I have not updated the page in a while, you can read about my grandmothers story here .. .. remember .. one day you may have to live in one of these facilities ..

tomatogrower 8 years, 5 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says… Give American workers the choice to opt out of Medicare and Social Security immediately.

The 12.4% Social Security penalty alone is enough to make the fiscally responsible among us cringe. Can you imagine what you and your family could do with 12.4% more of your earned income?

Yes, they would buy more stuff. They wouldn't save it, or they would put it in the stock market, then sell when it dropped. Then when they got old they would go whining to the government to take care of them. Boohoo.

barlowtl 8 years, 5 months ago

The problem has never been easy to solve but while blaming the helpless who cannot help themselves may ease your conscience for a while it will come back to bite you. Petey Cerf gave us a legacy, God bless those who care enough continue it.

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