Nursing Home Tragedy

The recent tragedy in Hollywood regarding the nursing home and the seniors who needlessly died in Irma brings to light several issues. The obvious first issue is the lack of preparedness on the facility. As I am reading in the papers, those responsible will be held accountable. However, as I have some more time to reflect on this matter, it occurred to me that there is a fundamental flaw in the "system". Regarding Assisted Living Facilities (ALF's), there is a private cottage industry of professionals who guide the families into the appropriate facilities for their needs and financial abilities. These professionals are usually paid by the ALF itself as a referral fee.

This does not happen with Nursing Homes. I believe that the primary reason is that Nursing Homes generally accept Medicaid patients, and the Federal Law prohibits referral fees for facilities accepting Medicaid dollars.

While this is a good procedure, it does effectively remove the private professionals from guiding the families, and thus the facilities do not have private sector consumer oversight-better known as market forces. This leaves the State of Florida to oversee the nursing home facilities, and we can see where this leaves the seniors.

Perhaps it is time to revisit this particular issue and allow the marketplace to dictate the closing of poorly managed nursing homes.

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