Earlier this month, two Pennsylvania Senators, Pat Toomey (R) and Bob Casey (D), issued a report identifying 478 nursing homes in the nation as having “serious deficiencies.” These facilities in turn were labeled as “special focus facilities” by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This means that the labeled nursing homes have a “documented pattern of poor care” and will be eligible to be improved upon by CMS.
74 of these special focus facilities have guaranteed mortgages provided by a federal agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These mortgages were insured against default, meaning if the nursing home failed to make payments, their mortgage agreement was still intact. Since they were unable to go into default, some facilities and chains racked up serious debt—in some cases, millions of dollars—to HUD. Not only were some HUD-insured facilities unable to pay their mortgages, but as the Senators’ report showed, they were also unable to pay for proper care for their residents.
As it turns out, HUD provides guaranteed mortgages for 15% of all nursing homes through a program called Section 232, which adds up to over $20 billion in mortgages at 2,368 facilities. HUD stopped inspecting these facilities in 2012 under claims that it duplicated the work done by federal and state health regulators. HUD may have had good intentions, but the result was less than acceptable. Their lack of inspection allowed facilities to fall into disrepair and enabled staff to harm and neglect their residents.
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard E. Neal, sent a letter asking the federal housing agency to resume regular property inspections on these homes. Hopefully proper inspections and potential CMS-implemented changes can improve these facilities so that residents are no longer subjected to poor care and abuse.
The 74 special focus facilities cannot qualify for a new guaranteed mortgage backed by HUD.
If you or a loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania, you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. Contact us at Shrager & Sachs, and we can help you recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. We’re here to protect you and others from further nursing home abuse.