New Jersey families do their due diligence and choose a place for their older family members based on a variety of factors: type of skilled nursing care offered, cleanliness of the facility, and perhaps the home’s record when it comes to incidents of medical malpractice complaints.
What families shouldn’t have to worry about is whether or not the nursing home gets paid by the government. People have every right to believe that their family members will receive a high level of quality care while they are residents in the nursing home. Unfortunately, one’s right doesn’t always match up with reality.
When someone applies for Medicaid, states have to decide on eligibility one patient at a time. New Jersey is the slowest state in the region for determining whether residents are eligible for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs. While it’s true that most families who entrust their elderly loved ones to nursing homes could care less about Medicaid payments, they should be paying closer attention.
In NJ, the determination process is supposed to take only 45 days, but it often takes 90 days or more. During that time, nursing homes are racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in delayed Medicaid payments. In fact, one NJ nursing home provider had to file for bankruptcy after Medicaid delays contributed to serious financial problems. To give some perspective, the average eligibility determination for NJ is 122 days compared to 44 days in Connecticut, according to Senior Planning Services, a company that helps families determine Medicaid eligibility.
Again, if you are thinking, “why should I care if they get paid,” here’s your answer: while nursing homes wait on eligibility determination for hundreds of patients with severe health problems, people’s healthcare needs may be overlooked.
After all, nursing homes are businesses. Businesses always keep their collective eye on the bottom line. If the home isn’t getting paid, they may force employees to be overworked and underpaid. It’s unlikely workers are getting raises. Further, the condition of the facility may suffer when money is tight.
While most nursing homes may say they have their eye on providing top level care, sometimes, the put profits over patients. Financial issues can contribute to frustrated employees, compromised working conditions and a lack of resources. All of these problems can increase the risk of nursing home abuse and neglect.
The truth of the matter is, nursing homes have a responsibility to provide the highest level of care your loved one requires and deserves. If, for any reason, you believe your elderly family member is receiving compromised care by doctors, nursing or other healthcare workers in the nursing home, we can help.
The personal injury lawyers at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC fights for the rights of people who have been victims of negligent care in hospitals and nursing homes. Contact us today for a free review of your case.