HOW THE COMMUNITY VIEWS CORPORATE NURSING HOMES
Families and communities across the USA are up in arms because of the neglect of their parents in corporate nursing homes. They have formed groups to press for reform of the system. They have identified the close links between politicians and nursing home owners as the prime reason why corporate nursing homes are not prosecuted and put out of business.
Regulatory authorities have failed dismally and the community are angry. They have taken to the courts in large numbers. Those who advocate for a market system in Australia should understand how those at the receiving end experience such a system.
The relationship between politicians and nursing home corporations in California is particularly obvious and has been exposed on national television.
One of the speakers at a meeting in California was a woman by the name of Janice Caldwell, who is the Director of HCFA for California. This is the federal body which oversees state regulators and ensures that nursing homes are providing an acceptable standard of care.
The audience included families of patients, community groups, and lawyers who represented victims of the system. They were horrified at her statements. These statements were circulated on the internet and letters were written to her calling on her to resign. These express the anger which exists at the coal face - the real living experience when citizen's parents are confined in corporate homes. Here is an account of what happened.
Referring to Janet Caldwell:-
I am going to try and quote her words as close as possible: "We should not be increasing enforcement in California. The indications are that DHS (our nursing home oversight system) is doing it's job. They are finding 30% of the complaints filed, valid, which is much higher than in other states, so therefore we have strict enough laws." An attorney, Mr. Thomas, yelled from the back of room, "That's Baloney". A family member spoke up saying, "Until you have gone into one of these nursing homes to see your mother, then gone into the bathroom, closed the door and cried your eyes out because of the condition your mother is in, you don't know what your talking about." Others spoke out also. One Ombudsmen, was very effective in what she had to say. The Director of the Nursing Home Reform Advocate Group that sponsored this gathering, spoke right after Janice Caldwell, she did not address or speak against what Caldwell had said.
Caldwell also stated, "She is tired of seeing all the hidden camera coverage of nursing homes on TV, ."
The writer had worked with Senator Grassley and the Senate Commission on Aging and quoted this statement by Grassley: "At HCFA, we have cut off their branches, we have cut off their limbs but their trunk is still rotten."
To the families of nursing home patients this was rather like denying the holocaust. Ms Caldwell was flooded with angry emails calling for her to resign and these were widely circulated. Some of these emails are included in the rich text document which can be downloaded from this site. They reflect the genuine anger and revulsion which decent people experience when they look at what has happened in corporate nursing homes. They are unedited and in the order I received them.
CLICK HERE -- to download these letters
This page created October 2000
by Michael Wynne