How Not To Fix Nursing Homes -- Budgets and Budgeting

Full story: Hartford Courant

Everybody wants to fix Connecticut's nursing homes. The problem is, the fix elected officials have in mind is empty rhetoric, and it could do more damage than good.
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41 - 52 of 52 Comments Last updated Sep 10, 2013
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bring back Hal Moffie

Gainesboro, TN

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#43
Apr 11, 2008
 
Sad.

All the the replies came from "insiders". Toni Fatone and the Association DO NOT represent CT. Some of the shoddiest operators are on the BOARD and it sickens many of us.

Why did Brian Fole of Apple Health Care leave? And Martin Sbriglio of
Ryder Health?

To have as spokesmen people like Earl Lerner, Don (don't pay the bills)
Franco, and I-Care mogul Mr. Wright
of Trinity Hill and Chelsey Place fame.

Lawmakers should determine how much the owner operators are paying themselves BEFORE kicking in another dime..........duhhhhhhhh rememeber Haven and Category Five???

Greed and mismanagement are the heavy
price that all will pay in CT long term care.

This is not lawmaker driven; it's taxpayers that are incensed driven.
Retired Manager

Simsbury, CT

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#44
Apr 11, 2008
 
Why is it that there are some owners who manage to work through the tough times and continue to have staff provide quality care, they pay their bills, and by many accounts actually turn a profit and others cannot?

Why is it that you have a group like Marathon, with dedicated employees, a good number of beds occupied, but they go deeper and deeper in debt each month?

The facts are clear on Haven Health Care, Mr. Termini took money and used funds that should have been used for the health care company.

The facts on Marathon I am told are not tied to illegeal dealings, but simply poor business decisions.

Earle Lerner may be a nice man, but he has a history of failures in the nursing home business. This is his THIRD failed business dealing in the industry.

The facts also point to a failed association. Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities and Ms. Fatone have collected thousands from owners to represent them, be a voice in the political world, and the voice only comes out when a potential negative is published in the paper. Shame on the association for its failures to champion change.

We face major problems in the industry, but even the best plans will not work if we have people in the industry making poor business decisions.
Retired Manager

Simsbury, CT

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#45
Apr 11, 2008
 

Judged:

1

Meghan Lerner wrote:
To the Fat One: sadly it seems to me that you are nothing more than a simple minded ignorant soul.
This article is very honest and very accurate. Thank you Ms. Fatone!!!!
If this is Mr Lerner's daughter I understand your position now, but you cannot argue with the poor business decisions that your father has made in the industry. How can you blame the state for what is now his third failure?
Jackson

New London, CT

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#48
Apr 11, 2008
 
At last, someone who truly understands the problems and is not afraid to put them on paper!
When will our legislators stop overreacting and offering solutions without thinking through the problems. It is time to take a breath and then organize a meeting between the legislature, DPH, DSS and the nursing homes to really understand the problems and find solutions that will work. The current proposal only sets nursing homes up to fail. Everyone is aware of the shortage of qualified nursing staff, hwo can they believe that all of those new positions could be filled in a matter of months.
I am bitterly disappointed by our legislators on both sides of the aisle.
Seen it all

Bristol, CT

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#49
Apr 11, 2008
 
In response to Toni Fatone's commentary on nursing home staffing, I propose another solution. If the profit making aspect were removed from the industry, resources could be better distributed. Appropriate allocation of such resources could then be directed to hiring and training a well-educated and dedicated staff, and retaining them by providing a living wage, health and retirement benefits. Since the major payment sources for long term care are government and private payment by residents, I think that the state should take over all of the homes that are currently in receivership.

Such a move could occur under government auspices and be studied to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. The economic failure of these enterprises reveals that mismanagement driven by a profit making motive is what has imperiled the care and safety of the residents living in them, not problems with staffing or the inability to hire staff. Indeed, but for the efforts of the staff, there would be many more serious health implications for the residents of our state living in long term care. Why give more money to a system that is already so fundamentally inept or create more and more ineffective levels of oversight? Legislating the way that care should be provided by professional care-givers only further burdens their ability to do so. I think anyone who has had any experience living or working in long term care would agree that the failure is not on the part of the staff providing care, but on the perverse motivation of owners to profit off the backs of frail elders who can neither afford to pay for these services nor adequately voice the suffering they have been forced to endure under a profit making system. Why should more tax payer dollars be spent to enable corrupt corporate malfeasance?

Don't believe for a moment that the only reason the industry wants more funding is simply to be able to hire additional staff. After 15 years of working in long term care, I have come to believe that the industry delights in the turmoil it has created. Witness the high rate of nursing staff turnover, much of which occurs during corporate takeovers, and is often not initiated by the staff, but by the corporation. The Haven Health debacle came to light through nurses blowing the whistle, and these nurses were subsequently fired.

Additionally, I suggest the Department of Public Health revamp its approach to surveying long term care facilities. Instead of scheduled surveys or acting in response to complaints, install a team of overseers by region. Then each region would have surveyors able to be positioned on a day to day basis in the homes with the most problems. Facilities would not be able to cover their tracks as effectively, nor be able to prepare so diligently when surveyor visits are more frequent and unplanned. An influx of dollars to increase the number of surveyors available to provide this continuous type of oversight for continuous quality improvement would be money well spent.
nh critic

Gainesboro, TN

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#50
Apr 12, 2008
 
With the likes of Mssrs. Wright and Lerner heading the Association and supported by long term Board member
Don (don't pay the bills)Franco Toni has an uphill struggle to convince ANYONE that money is needed.

The Association has an enormous credibility void.

After all Haven Health needed money
but how did Termini acquire soo many things?? Was it on the back of the taxpayer through the Medicaid program....answer: YES!

Bringing back Hal Moffe may restore credibility and perhaps a seat at the bargaining table which has long been
cold.

The legislature may be wrong but the general public does not think so.
Haven Sucks

United States

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#51
Apr 12, 2008
 
Ray is a loser who had this vision that he is some kind of big shot record executive. He wasted Haven's money on nonsense to impress Darleen Bush?!? Just shows how much of a loser he is.

Everyone else including the elderly suffer because of him. This investigation has gone on long enough, when is the state and FBI going to actually do something about this mess?
Cartmen from South Park

Quincy, MA

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#52
Apr 17, 2008
 
The nursing facilities are setting the limits. There is not one SNF in Ct that is operating on the states mandated staffing level of 1.9 Every facilties staffs at a minimum of 3.3. Bye the way what idiot at the state or federal level thinks 1.9 is a resonable number.....
Elder Care Crisis in CT wrote:
<quoted text>
My point was who sets speed limits not how fast people drive. I made the comment to disagree with you saying that providers should be able to set staffing levels. The state needs to set realistic standards and properly enforce them. To let providers set their own limits would be asking for trouble from the bad homes out there.
Like some drivers, some nursing home Administrators will do stupid things. There needs to be regulation of both to prevent abuse.
<quoted text>
I agree with everything except the waiting list point. Perhaps you can give us a list of good home without lists? It would be help to many I'm sure.
There are also some good, hard-working staff at some bad homes. I appreciate the efforts of all the good staffers out there.
<quoted text>
Your spelling SEEMS ok, logic not so good. <grin>
Richard Mollot

United States

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#53
Jul 2, 2008
 
In fact, study after study has shown that staffing levels are key to safety and dignity for nursing home residents and for direct care workers. Because we as tax payers pay for so much of nursing home care we have a right - and a responsibility - to make sure that nursing homes are complying with standards.

Citizens should be applauding policymakers who are willing to invest more in much-needed oversight. Without strong oversight standards are meaningless and vulnerable long term care consumers are put in jeopardy in far too many of the state's (and country's) nursing homes.
Jill Zinck employee

AOL

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#54
Jan 4, 2009
 
Retired Manager wrote:
<quoted text>
If this is Mr Lerner's daughter I understand your position now, but you cannot argue with the poor business decisions that your father has made in the industry. How can you blame the state for wha t is now his third failure?
How do you think the employees feel we give good care and are asked to account for the failures of the owners. We were critized when Marathon took the money the state gave them and sent it to Mass. to bail out their other failed home. Now Mr. Lerner wants to know why Ct. state won't give him more. Well we yankees take a dim view of being ripped off. You should hear some of the comments we have to deal with from families. Now we are in the hands of the state. I am waiting to see if I will even be paid. I received a statement on friday saying my money was wired to the bank for me as of this time I have not seen a dime. I hope on Monday the money will reach the bank. As of Friday at 3:30 p.m. the bank had not received the wire transfer. When Five Star left and Marathon took over it cost me $410.00 each company said it was not their problem. I only hope tomorrow morning my money I earned will be there for my mortgage. Someone need to find a solution to honestly work with the state to provide for the elderly. Governer Rell has no idea as she feels families should take their elderly home and supposedly the state will provide home care for them. She apparently has little knowledge of the cost as agencies nursing will bankrupt the state. Families have both adults working to afford the cost of living in Ct. not for the pleasure of working. Families are unable to work 8hrs a day and come home provide for the children and then take care of grandma or grandpa for the next 16hrs while they may be awake and waundering the house especially if they have alzheimers or dementia. Connecticut has to become reasonable and owners need to realize their are not going to be big profits on either side. I realize its a business but you can't have a going out of business sale with our elderly. Don't you realize how much it frightens the ones who still have a mind. They worked their lives providing for us. Where will you and I end up when its our time. In the middle of a fight over profit and losses. Whats next? Do like the eskimos used to put them out to sea on an ice float and kiss them goodbye!! Remember Mr Lerner and Gov.Rell but for the grace of God it could be you.
Jill Zinck - Marathon

AOL

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#55
Jan 5, 2009
 
At least the money wired to the employees bank accounts for their last pay check from Marathon arrived in everyones bank account today. Some by the end of the day but we were all paid. AS I said earlier it had become a large concern for many of us. When Five Star left many of us were without pay for the hours we worked. Transitions are hard enough for all concerned,but when your very ability to pay your bills is threatened it only increases these tensions and makes you ask is it worth working in this field? There are to many nurses who change careers due to these upheavels. We wish the best for these nursing homes and hope the state takes a serious look at what is happening and is able to help these residents without leaving them feeling like they are throw aways. I have already been asked by residents if the state is going to throw them out on the sidewalks. What a terrible thing that our seniors in their so called golden years should even have such a fear.
joel schlank

West Hartford, CT

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#56
Sep 10, 2013
 
Earl lerner gave me my first job in the field. I always found him to be up front and honest in his dealings. He was a very hard worker and moved up the corporate ladder very quickly due to his ability to deal with people in a uniquely sincere manner. I think the problem, in the nursing home field, lies within the system its self. The system is so burdensom and the margin of error is so great that even the most honest can appear dishonest. So please think twice before condeming a pier.---Thank You

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