Disclaimer:- The material is selective and not all inclusive. The extracts do not necessarily reflect the perspective of the original. Corporate denials and explanations have not been included. No claim is made that all of the matters referred to are true. The intention is to give the flavour of the material and an idea of the extent of the allegations. Can there be so much smoke without a large fire? This is a matter of public welfare and the interests of the pubic must be placed before those of the corporations.
Nursing home chains as a first response deny all allegations of unsavoury conduct, attack their critics and frequently lodge lawsuits for defamation. They appeal every adverse finding or penalty. When forced into settlements they continue to deny their culpability and offer explanations.
They routinely respond with a claim of a commitment to ethics, quality care and to putting patients first. I feel that little weight can be given to all these routine denials.
When homes are closed corporations have sat behind residents and families when they have complained of the human costs of relocation, praised the home and challenged the need to close it down.
To be fair to the company I have included a selection of their responses here. Susan Moss is Vencor's spokesperson and responds to all the allegations.
My interest is in the thinking of the company. The responses undoubtedly reflect the advice of corporate lawyers and the responses of selected people who are well trained in damage control. These people are being briefed by the company and it is possible to glimpse corporate thinking behind them. The initial responses to an allegation seem to reveal denial and rationalisation - something human going on behind it all -- e.g. an angry response that they have been unfairly treated.
My view is that while these people do know what has been happening, it has been compartmentalised and so not part of the normal corporate discourse - not part of corporate consciousness. The initial responses therefore are genuine. They reflect denial and anger that anyone can accuse them of these things. Denial is followed by explanations and justifications, feelings of unfair treatment then finally silence. This does not mean that the full consequences of corporate conduct are accepted.
Once the matters are settled there is an outpouring of words to create a new reality which is a mirror of the past, the same sense of what wonderful and infallible people they are. The unpleasant facts of the past are put into a little box labeled "past mistakes", and securely closed with a neat blue ribbon of corporate explanations around it. This is how sociopathic personalities address their problems. They are free to recreate themselves at the expense of the community.
COMMENT:- I do not have the first press reports on this but by the time of my first reports the problems in the home can no longer be challenged. The company's response is to claim that the company has made the needed changes, that the state is not being fair, that patients will be harmed by closure, and then to mount a legal challenge. It feels aggrieved.
State shutting down Mount Carmel: Nursing
home gets 4 months to move patients
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel October 20, 1998
But Moss reacted angrily to the state and federal actions, and she promised an aggressive legal fight. The huge health care company bought 15 Wisconsi n nursing homes in 1995.
Mount Carmel should have been given six months, not three, to fix deficiencies after a July inspection turned up widespread problems, Moss said. She said improvement was evidenced by the lack of more serious citations such as those issued this summer charging that residents' safety was in "immediate jeopardy."
Vencor will soon seek a restraining order to stop the funding cutoff, and if need be it will sue over the license action, Moss said. There is precedent in other states for such a move, she said.
"We're going to explain to residents that we'll do everything in our power" to stop relocation, Moss said. Mount Carmel had earlier submitted a relocation plan as was required by law.
Inspectors still found abundant problems
Concerns last week ranged from bedsores to fluids; state, nursing
home prepare for long legal battle
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel October 21, 1998
Vencor corporate officials, who point to improvements at the home, said little Tuesday. But a spokeswoman said the Kentucky-based firm would have an announcement soon on a likely legal challenge to block a federal-state move to cut off crit ical government funding for the home.
An official wi th a nursing home trade association called the state's action "unfortunate."
Officials scramble to avoid shutdown of
Mount Carmel Kleczka, employees say owner is trying to sell home;
appeal of license revocation to be withdrawn, work ers say
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel October 28, 1998
Company officials, who did not respond to phone calls Tuesday, have said the license revocation did not take into account the improvement at the facility in recent weeks.
Thompson seeks Mount Carmel buyer Governor
hopes to avoid relocating residents
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel October 29, 1998
Speaking before Leean's comments abou t Vencor's stewardship of the home, Moss said Vencor believed that it had "truly enhanced the quality of life" at Mount Carmel in recent weeks.
Moss described the talks with the state as "negotiations."
She said reports Tuesday th at Vencor might withdraw its appeal of the license revocation were unfounded. But she downplayed the appeal as a routine legal reflex in such cases.
Letter adds to anxiety at Mount Carmel
Unannounced visit by state inspectors upsets some
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel November 1, 1998
COMMENT:- State authorities are closing the home because of continued, uncorrected and life threatening problems in care. They wrote to residents to explain the seriousness of the problems and why they were closing the home. This is the response to residents.
In a letter Saturday to the residents, Bill Van Offeren, director of Operations in Wisconsin for Vencor Inc., the owners of Mount Carmel, said, "We want to reassure each and every one of you that the state surveys released Oct. 19 found no life-threatening issues of immediate jeopardy or substandard care."
2 Pinellas nursing facilities face
St. Petersburg Times January 06, 1999
Susan Moss, (Vencor's spokesperson) -----. she said the problems have been corrected, and the center had been waiting for a state reinspection. ---- "We're confident that when they do, they will find the building to be in substantial compliance," Moss said.
"I can assure you that it's the company's policy to care for residents regardless of payment source," said Moss, the Vencor spokeswoman. "If any patient was discharged improperly, it was in total violation of company policy."
Fine for nursing home suggested by state
The Associated Press January 7, 1999
COMMENT:- Fined US $70,000 for discharging patients who are too ill for discharge when Medicare payments expired and funding reverted to Medicaid which pays less. Perhaps they have never thought about this the way the rest of us do.
Vencor spokeswoman Susan Moss said she was certain the home's actions had nothing to do with Medicaid. Nursing homes receive a lower rate from Medicaid than from residents who have Medicare coverage or enough money to pay a private rate.
"At this stage of our investigation, we have not found any information to indicate that these discharges were inappropriate," said Vencor spokeswoman Susan Moss.
Florida moves to fine Vencor nursing home
$ 10,000 a day Officials allege discharge policies were
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY.) January 7, 1999
COMMENT:- A Response to the same events as above. They see it differently.
Vencor spokeswoman Susan Moss said, ''at this point,'' given the company's review of the situation, ''we don't agree'' with the allegations of failing to notify residents of their rights to apply for Medicaid. She said the company will provide the state with information that will clarify its position.
Moss also said that ''we have not found any information to indicate that the discharges were inappropriate.'' She said the discharges ''were based solely on the approval of residents and their families'' and that proper arrangements were made for care after the patients were discharged.
RAPE ALLEGATION LAWSUIT EXPECTED TO GET
Sarasota Herald-Tribune February 4, 1999
COMMENT:- Sort of response to law suits.
''We take every patient allegation seriously,'' said Susan Moss, a spokeswoman for Vencor. She said she could not discuss the case specifically, but said, ''We are confident we will prevail through the legal system.''
Nursing home workers rip staffing levels;
company denies charges - - The public accusations of union employees,
the company says, are incorrect and are simply a contract-negotiation
The Providence Journal-Bulletin February 24, 2000, Thursday
COMMENT:- Vencor's response to accusations by nurses of understaffing.
Both nursing homes released identical statements, saying, our staffing levels meet or exceed state requirements and accusing the union of engaging in tactics to put pressure on the company during contract negotiations.
State: Vencor has 'deficiencies' - -
Regulators limit the Tampa hospital to only emergency admissions
until it adopts a plan to improve medical care.
St. Petersburg Times May 31, 2000, Wednesday
"Patient care is our number one concern and we take seriously every complaint brought to our attention by the state. We are filing a plan of correction with the state and are confident the state will confirm our compliance when they complete their follow-up survey."
Vencor expects heavy losses 4th quarter
was worse than third, but new leader expects turnaround
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY.) January 27, 1999
COMMENT:- The company is rushing towards bankruptcy. Directors have resigned and a new team appointed.
But his (Lunsford) replacement, Edward Kuntz, said yesterday that the company is in position to make a turnaround. ''We have put a team in place that is committed to ensuring the success for Vencor as a premier provider of long- term health-care services across the country,'' he said.
COMMENT:- If anything you can say will only make it worse then you simply have to shut up. Vencor's silence is deafening. When it is all over you try to get as far away from what has happened as you can. You make elaborate claims about new staff, reforming, and how wonderful you have become. You shift the blame. Vencor has not got to this stage yet.
Instead of living through and beyond your failings, you compartmentalise them, push them away into the past and pretend you are something different.
Justice Department Probes Medicare Billing
The Wall Street Journal 11/18/98
By Chris Adams and Michael Moss
"We don't know what they're looking at," said a Vencor spokeswoman. The company was delivered a subpoena within the past two weeks, she said. She said Vencor would have no additional comment on the matter.
Vencor suit sheds light on probe
St. Petersburg Times November 20, 1998
Boodhoo did not return a call seeking comment. Vencor's spokeswoman declined to discuss settlement of the Titusville suit.
Vencor Discloses Investigation of Its
Health Care Fraud Litigation Reporter December 1998
"The company has been informed by the U.S. Department of Justice that it is the subject of ongoing investigations into various aspects of its Medicare billing practices," the company said in its report.
According to a spokeswoman for the company, the investigation could go on for years. "Given the current regulatory environment, this investigation is not unique," said Vencor spokeswoman Susan Moss. "Most providers are facing similar scrutiny. We are cooperating fully with the investigation and we expect it to go on for several years."
U.S. joins fraud suit against Vencor
St. Petersburg Times May 21, 1999,
Officials at Vencor headquarters in Louisville, Ky., could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
U.S. accuses Vencor of false claims Action
also names Ventas as defendant
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY.) July 29, 1999
HAROLD J. ADAMS, The Courier-Journal
Vencor officials did not return calls seeking comment on the suit yesterday. Ventas chief executive officer Debra Cafaro was said to be traveling yesterday.
Vencor faces federal Medicare lawsuit - -
- The company is accused of double-billing the government through a
St. Petersburg Times August 03, 1999, Tuesday080599
Vencor officials did not return calls Monday afternoon to respond to the lawsuit's allegations, which stem from a whistle-blower lawsuit filed in 1997 by two former employees of Vencor's Central Tampa Hospital.
U.S. seeks $1.3 billion from nursing home
The Associated Press March 14, 2000, Tuesday,
Spokesmen at the company's Louisville, Ky., headquarters did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But the company had said earlier it was trying to negotiate a settlement with the government.
Vencor Faces $1 Billion Claim; U.S.
Seeking Medicare Repayments
The Washington Post March 14, 2000, Tuesday, Final Edition
Vencor executives didn't return repeated phone calls to the company's Louisville headquarters yesterday.
COMMENT:- There has only been one settlement so far. The fraud has not yet been settled. The question of quality is being pushed into the past. They now claim to be something different. Vencor has miraculously become a company which is about "innovative approaches" and "enhancing quality" - the very opposite of what the evidence shows it to be.
When I first encountered this dogmatic assertion of totally opposite values in Tenet/NME's claims in 1992 I called it "NMEspeak". We shrug our shoulders but the tragedy is that these people actually believe what they are saying and large sections of the community swallow it without question. For them words actually become reality, and because they say them they are real. I have written about "NMEspeak" and the misuse of language, quoting from the words of others on another page.
Vencor and Office of Inspector General
Agree On Quality Improvement Plan in Corporate Integrity
Business Wire August 8, 2000, Tuesday
COMMENT:- This is a company which faces a US $1.3 billion fraud action and has been fined repeatedly for misusing the frail elderly to satisfy the demands of the marketplace. Does it know what integrity is? Instead of prison we get an "integrity agreement" and this from the company!
"The agreement reflects our goal to become the nation's leading provider of long-term nursing and hospital services and to set the benchmark for professional excellence and commitment to quality care," said Edward L. Kuntz, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Vencor. "We believe the agreement marks a significant step forward in the efforts of the government and private enterprise to collaborate in establishing innovative approaches to ensuring and enhancing quality care for the long-term care industry."