Quantcast
Connect with us

Here is the horrible reason why nursing homes are being unnecessarily overrun by the Trump pandemic

Published

on

Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Sarah Okeson
Sarah Okeson

Former Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat but the CEO of a nursing home industry group, wrote Trump after the 2016 election seeking a “collaborative approach” to regulation, much like the one the Federal Aviation Administration has had with the aircraft industry.

Team Trump acquiesced, rolling back fines and proposing to weaken rules for infection prevention employees. That collaborative approach has failed, much as it did with the FAA , the agency that enabled failures in the design of the Boeing 737 Max.

ADVERTISEMENT

Shoddy federal oversight of planes helped kill 346 people. The death toll from the pandemic, where health officials Seema Verma and Alex Azar helped turn our nation’s nursing homes into Trump death traps, is more than 46,000.

“Nursing homes are incubators of epidemics,” said Betsy McCaughey, the chair of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.

So far, more than 7,000 residents or people connected to nursing homes have died. That number includes 12 residents at the Milford Center in Delaware owned by Genesis HealthCare which has an executive, Michael Wylie, who previously chaired the American Health Care Association board.

Parkinson was paid about $3.3 million in 2017 by the association which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes. The association had 45 lobbyists in 2019, including Brian Ballard, the former chairman of Trump’s fundraising committee.

Especially Vulnerable

Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to infections spread among groups such as the flu and norovirus.  In a normal year, almost 388,000 of our nation’s elderly and disabled die of infections they got in nursing homes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Under Obama, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a new position for nursing homes to try to help prevent infections from spreading. The employees, infection preventionists, are supposed to make sure nursing home staff properly clean their hands, disinfect surfaces and other measures to prevent illnesses in residents and staff.

The requirement was part of a 2016 rule that was the first major update to requirements for long-term care providers since 1991. The rule also included protections against abuse, neglect and exploitation of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

In 2016, a fifth of skilled nursing facilities were cited for actual harm or jeopardy to residents. Only 6.5% had no deficiencies in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fines Drop

Under Trump, fines for nursing homes that injured or endangered residents dropped to an average of $28,405 compared to $41,260 during the last year of Obama’s administration. In 2017, CMS put an 18-month moratorium on fines and other penalties for some of the tougher regulations, saying it would use the time to “educate surveyors and the providers.”

Now, Verma and Azar want to weaken the infection preventionist position, changing the position from at least part-time to spending “sufficient time” at the facility. Nursing home inspectors started focusing exclusively on infection control after the pandemic started.

ADVERTISEMENT

Knock ‘Em Out

More than 1,500 people or organizations commented on the proposed changes, many of them from the nursing home industry. The cutbacks, which also include weakening a resident’s right to file a grievance and allowing nursing homes to medicate residents with antipsychotic drugs indefinitely, are expected to save nursing home operators more than $600 million a year.

Some of the nursing home executives who asked federal regulators to weaken the standards for infection preventionists have had coronavirus outbreaks in their facilities.

Deb Fournier, the chief operations officer for Maine Veterans’ Homes, said in September that she supported the proposed Trump changes in employees charged with preventing infections.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This will allow LTC facilities to use workforce resources in a manner that best meets the needs of their organizations,” she wrote.

Two people have died at the veterans’ home in Scarborough, Maine, and 38 people have gotten sick.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Protests around the world: This time it’s different

Published

on

A profound, historical difference separates the protests across America the past six days from past eruptions of anger over police violence against black men and women. It’s a difference that isn’t showing up news reports, televised or print even though it’s quite apparent.

The differences are where these demonstrations are taking place and who is protesting,

In Los Angeles, the demonstrators were not in the poor and historically black neighborhood known as Watts, but in Beverly Hills and the city’s prosperous West Side. Many of those demonstrating were white. In some places a majority were white.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

COVID-19 cases skyrocket among younger Americans as states reopen

Published

on

The coronavirus is tearing into a new demographic as states relax social distancing guidelines.

Younger Americans have gone back to work in the service industry and congregating in public, and their activity seems to be bearing out ominous predictions from public health experts, reported The Daily Beast.

“Watch what’s happening before and after the peak,” said epidemiologist Dr. Judith Malmgren, of the University of Washington’s school of public health. “The disease didn’t change, but the people who were infected changed.”

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Trump’s confederacy-loving fans accused of treason in brutal new Lincoln Project ad

Published

on

In another no-holds-barred ad from the Lincoln Project -- headed up by Republicans Rick Wilson, George Conway and Steve Schmidt -- Donald Trump is linked to the Confederacy and, by extension, treason against the United States.

The ad notes the prevalence of the Confederate flag at Trump rallies -- some even bearing his name -- and notes, "The men who followed this flag 150 years ago knew what it meant: Treason against their country. Death of the United States,” in the voiceover.

With clips showing the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, the ad goes on to ask, "What does it say that they’re all in for Trump?"

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image