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North Carolina Nursing Home Neglect: Budget Cuts and Disaster Preparedness

We’re heading into the season when the weather can be unpredictable and natural disasters can pop up out of nowhere. During this time we face risks for floods, tornadoes and hurricanes throughout the state. It’s important that everyone has a plan for evacuation and for dealing with natural disasters. According to government investigators, nursing homes may be a little bit behind in creating and following through with these kinds of safety plans, FOX NEWS reported.Officials say that that nursing home neglect in North Carolina can occur when necessary steps are not taken to protect residents from disaster. They say that local nursing homes are not coordinating their plans with authorities, they don’t have the proper plan in place to notify relatives or even to pin name tags and medication lists to residents in the event of an evacuation.

Our Greenville nursing elder abuse lawyers understand that current disaster plans for local nursing homes may not even be worth the paper they’re written on. In recent years, we’ve all seen how vulnerable the Carolinas can be to natural disasters. We’ve got hurricanes rolling up the east coast. We’ve got tornadoes ripping through the state and we’ve got a number of other natural disasters wreaking havoc on residents and on property. Residents in our nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable in these situations. For this reason, it’s so important for our nursing homes to have a plan to make sure that our elderly loved ones are safe!

“We identified many of the same gaps in nursing home preparedness and response,” investigators with the Health and Human Services Department.

After a recent investigation into the plans of many local homes, officials discovered that many nursing homes didn’t have patient information on file, didn’t have reliable transportation for residents in the event of an evacuation, they didn’t have any sort of collaboration with local response teams, etc.

With these recent findings, government officials suggest that both Medicaid and Medicare take the necessary steps to create the proper disaster plans for each facility to meet federal requirements.

This couldn’t come at a worse time either, as lawmakers yanked more than $22 million of Medicare funding from our state’s nursing homes.

“Because Medicare and Medicaid together pay for the care of approximately three of every four North Carolina nursing home patients, it is important for state lawmakers to recognize how these new federal Medicare cuts upset local facilities’ already fragile funding environment,” said Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC).

These cuts are only expected to get worse in the coming years. According to Rosenbloom, the nation is expected to experience a near $50 billion cut in Medicare funds between now and 2021. Currently, Medicaid covers nearly 60 percent of patient days.

If you are concerned about the procedures or the conditions of a Carolina nursing home, you’re urged to contact the South Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid.

More Blog Entries:

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse A Risk, as State Facilities Rank Poorly, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 19, 2012

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