The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one for many people. Concerns about everything from whether or not the staff is properly trained to the quality of food can influence a caregiver’s choice. Cost is another major factor in the decision and Florida residents are likely to see costs go up based on Medicare reductions and state budget cuts.
ABC News recently reported Florida elder care facilities will face $187.5 million in state budget cuts effective July 1, 2011. Coupled with a $2.1 billion reduction in Medicare funding over the next 10 years, many facilities will have to make drastic changes to their operations to stay open. For most, this will mean cuts in staffing. In fact, some have estimated that nursing homes will make up for as much as 70% of the loss of revenue by cutting staff salaries and the number of staff.
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The importance of quality, well trained staff members in a nursing home is clear to any nursing home abuse attorney. A reduction in staff will increase the chance of nursing home neglect and could lead to a lack of medical treatments. The reduction in the budget could lead facilities to hire those with less experience or with questionable backgrounds at a lower cost than qualified individuals which may lead to elder abuse. With reduced budgets, nursing homes may find it impossible to provide good quality health care, nourishing meals, or worthwhile activities for residents.
The Coalition to Protect Senior Care sent a ten foot long petition to Washington DC to try to prevent further funding cuts by the Federal government. Unfortunately, the budget cuts may lead to more cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, even in well meaning and well qualified facilities.