Reissuing an Important & Elegantly Written Document by the National Council of Gray Panthers Networks.
A couple of years ago, the Gray Panthers issued a statement on the nursing home industry in the United States. Entitled “Restructure the Industry and Defund the Existing System,” it was elegantly written and to the point of what we need in public discourse regarding the suffering of institutionalized disabled and elderly Americans in long-term care – suffering due to the precedence of shareholder value over humane care. Hence, the document is well worth reading today since recognized reform movements in Washington, D.C. over the past couple of years have been sympathetic to the industry and unwilling to confront the truth.
The authors were too modest to take credit and list their names on the statement. I assume that Jan Bendor, Art Persyko, Lydia Nunez, and Clint Smith had a hand in writing it. But perhaps it involved more members or perhaps all of the GP Senior Housing Committee.
The following are excerpts from the summary:
“The ‘enemy’ is a monster created by federal policy, allowing for-profit corporations to own chains of long-term care facilities, and lavishing on the owners the incentives and benefits in our tax laws regardless of their performance in caregiving.”
“These corporations are engaged in buying and selling of real estate with very favorable tax rewards. The corporations can practice medicine and also profit from Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs that can be hijacked for the corporation’s benefit rather than for the benefit of those in their care.”
Problems & Recommendations
In stating the problems on page 2, focus of the statement was on lack of accountability for the massive loss of life due to COVID, weak regulation by government agencies, underpaid staff in understaffed facilities, and the political clout of the industry through lobbying. Recommendation appropriately included accounting of Medicare length of stay fraud, wrongful discharges that occur, accountability for misreporting of data regarding harm and finances, overuse of antipsychotics.
Download the Gray Panther Statement on Nursing Homes Here:
If the U.S. Moved in the Direction the Gray Panthers are Suggesting, Americans May Not Hate the Thought of Needing Long-Term Care in a “Nursing Home.”
Inside the Washington, D.C. beltway reform efforts are beset with influence from the powerful forces that have a vested interest in keep the nursing home system the way it is. It is time for some honest discussion about why the status quo is only gaining strength with a small tweak here and there that serve as appearances and nothing more.