Virginia: Nursing Homes – a Lawyer’s Shortages

placeholder image big

On April 29, 2019, Daily Press online headlined: “In Hampton Roads nursing homes, low staffing and resident injuries are the norm”.

On May 2, 2019, The Virginian-Pilot at headlined under HEALTH & MEDICINE WATCHDOG: “Frequent injuries, low staffing persist in Hampton Roads nursing homes”. The article’s subtitle is: “The number of nurses at many homes falls short of the national average and federal recommendations”.

“Most Hampton Roads nursing homes have fewer nurses and aides and more violations of health standards than the national averages, putting patients at increased risk of injury or untreated illness, a Virginian-Pilot investigation showed.” The article continues: “And many of the facilities where Hampton Roads’ most vulnerable adults live – often unable to feed themselves, move around or even speak – exceed national averages for resident injuries from falls and open wounds from lying too long in one position, The Pilot found after reviewing several hundred pages of state inspection reports and federal data.” (underlining added). “Residents of Hampton Roads nursing homes are more likely than elsewhere in the country to lose their ability to move around and to manage daily tasks such as eating, dressing and going to the toilet.”

“Roughly 60 percent of Hampton Roads homes reported patients having open skin wounds more than the national average, a Virginian-Pilot review found. The same percentage of homes reported above average numbers of residents became less mobile during their stay.”

A 2016 study by a team of professors of medicine and nursing at Vanderbilt University, the University of California at San Francisco and the University of British Columbia reported that inadequate nursing staffing was the basic reason for quality of care problems.” (underlining added). The Virginian-Pilot’s investigation disclosed that “only 11 Hampton Roads’ 57 nursing homes meet the standard [for daily registered nursing care for each resident set by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services]; and that “only five [of 57] Hampton Roads nursing homes” exceed the Medicare/Medicaid minimum standard for daily nurses’ aide care for each resident.

The aforesaid published “team from Vanderbilt, UCSF and UBC reported nursing home profits from Medicare have ranged from 10 percent to 21 percent since 2010,” though Medicaid resident patients are not as profitable. Notably, The Virginian-Pilot singled out some Hampton Roads nursing homes by name with dubious vignettes: St. Francis Nursing Home in Newport News, a Bon Secours Health System facility; Consulate Care of Williamsburg; Envoy of Williamsburg; Signature Healthcare of Norfolk; Maryview Nursing Care Center in Suffolk, another Bon Secours facility; and The Gardens at Warwick Forest in Newport News, a Riverside Health System facility.