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Nursing homes don’t always provide care patients are billed for, part one

Earlier this week on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, we mentioned that a local nursing home is currently being sued for causing the wrongful death of a patient who overdosed on medications that had not been prescribed correctly by doctors.

Some families might assume that this case is an isolated incident and that their loved ones are not at risk of suffering from a similar mistake. However, a new report from Bloomberg News suggests that nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse may happen more frequently than what most families in Illinois think, especially when loved ones receive treatment at for-profit facilities.

According to data gathered by reporters for Bloomberg News, for-profit nursing homes in the U.S. are twice as more likely to overbill Medicare patients for treatments that patients do not need or even for treatments that patients never receive compared to non-profit nursing homes. According to federal health care inspectors, the entire nursing home industry in the U.S. overbills Medicare by as much as $1.5 billion every year.

What this means is that thousands of nursing home patients are either not getting the care that they need or they are receiving treatment that is not necessary. Both situations could lead to harmful incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect.

In addition to pointing out how often for-profit and non-profit nursing homes overbill for patient treatment and care, Bloomberg News reporters also highlighted some very troubling incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect that have occurred at for-profit facilities over the past few years. Many incidents of poor care that led to patient injuries or deaths were the result of these nursing homes putting profit before patient safety.

We will continue this discussion on our blog later this week, focusing on some common ways in which for-profit nursing homes may sacrifice patient care in order to make more money.

Source: Bloomberg, “For-Profit Nursing Homes Lead in Overcharging While Care Suffers,” Peter Waldman, Dec. 30, 2012

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