Problems in Long-Term Care Hospitals are Common – and Dangerous

In yesterday’s New York Times, Alex Berenson reported on an under-appreciated threat to thousands of vulnerable patients in our country. More than 400 long-term acute care hospitals have opened across the country in the past quarter century. Just like the majority of nursing homes, many of these long-term care hospitals are owned by for-profit corporations, whose profits can increase dramatically when the facility is understaffed. The article focuses on the biggest player in the long-term care industry: Select Medical Corporation, a Pennsylvania based, for-profit corporation which owns 89 long-term care hospitals.

Berenson examined government inspection reports, evidence from lawsuits, and federally-mandated reports, before he concluded that there is reason for concern about the care being given to the patients in Select Medical Corporation hospitals, and in other long-term care hospitals around the country. For example, according to the article, Select hospitals were cited nearly four times more often for Medicare violations than the rate for regular hospitals in 2007 and 2008. Also, long-term care hospitals have a significantly higher rate of bedsores and infections than the rate in regular hospitals. These problems, according to the Times, can be traced directly to the understaffing of these hospitals.

Not enough staff creates poor care. It’s that simple.

In our area, Select Medical Corporation owns facilities in Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, Georgia; Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Bristol, Knoxville and North Knoxville, Tennessee.

Select Medical’s biggest competitor is another for-profit, publicly-traded company, Kindred Healthcare. Kindred Healthcare has facilities nearby in Charleston, South Carolina; Atlanta, Fayetteville, Marietta, and Savannah, Georgia; and in Chapel Hill, Durham, Gastonia, Graham, Greensboro, Kinston, Lincolnton, Monroe, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Scotland Neck, Wilmington, and Zebulon, North Carolina.

Whether it is a nursing home or a long-term care hospital, when there is a high turnover rate, and a long-term understaffing problem, patient care will inevitably suffer, and preventable injuries and deaths can occur.

South Carolina injury attorney Michael Jeffcoat is committed to providing strong, competent representation of people and families after a serious or fatal injury in a nursing home. When injuries and deaths are preventable, but they are not in fact prevented by the nursing home, then you may want to talk to an attorney right away. To speak directly with Mr. Jeffcoat about what happened to your loved one, call (803) 808-9600.