Tag Archives: Senior Issues

FBI Hits Nursing Home With Search Warrants

by Marjie Lundstrom, The Sacramento Bee

California’s largest nursing home owner is facing a new round of government scrutiny as the FBI served search warrants last week at his Riverside facility. … The latest investigations shine the spotlight again on [Shlomo] Rechnitz, a 44-year-old Los Angeles entrepreneur whose facilities have been the focus of multiple local, state and federal probes, along with stepped-up scrutiny by health officials. The Bee found that homes he owned for all of last year were tagged with nearly triple as many serious deficiencies per 1,000 beds as the statewide average in 2014. Read More ›

Consumers Can Check Medical Prices, Quality Scores On New State Website

by Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times

stethescope and computer keyboard

California and 44 other states received a failing grade in an annual report card that measures how much access patients have to actual prices for medical care. The new online tool seeks to remedy that. … Consumers could use the website to check whether the price they were quoted for a routine lab test or procedure is out of line with the average cost in their community. Armed with that information, a patient could shop around or negotiate for a lower fee. … Researchers said the data also show a wide variation on the quality of care that patients receive from different providers.
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Out-Of-Network Costs Lurk Even At In-Network Hospitals

by Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times

A recent report by Consumers Union found that nearly 1 in 4 Californians say they were charged out-of-network rates when they thought that a provider was in-network. Most of these people — more than 6 in 10 — assume that doctors at an in-network hospital are also in-network, yet that’s often not the case. Federal law doesn’t protect patients from surprise bills. The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover out-of-network emergency services at in-network rates, but it doesn’t stop doctors from balance billing. … As it stands today, the healthcare system has consumers over a barrel. Read More ›

Con Artist Exploits A Grandmother’s Love Of Family

by Nancy Peverini, commentary in The Sacramento Bee

telemarketing to elderly

Even though the plot was foiled, it destroyed my mother’s sense of independence. She felt guilty and embarrassed – a common reaction that allows these scams to continue because many of our elderly do not want others to know that they fell for a scam. … We need to ring the bell more so our parents will be protected. According to some estimates, seniors account for 30 percent of all financial fraud. Consumer groups have tips to avoid getting ripped off. …Definitely don’t provide your credit card information. Read More ›

California’s Largest Nursing Home Owner Under Fire From Government Regulators

Since 2006, [Shlomo] Rechnitz and his primary company, Brius Healthcare Services, have acquired 81 nursing homes up and down the state, many of them through bankruptcy court. His chain has grown so quickly that he now controls about 1 in every 14 nursing home beds in California, giving him an outsized influence on quality of care in the state. … Between October and January, three of Rechnitz’s facilities, including South Pasadena, were decertified by the federal government, an economic kiss of death that is extremely rare. The punishment strips a nursing home of its crucial Medicare funding until it can demonstrate improvement, or is closed or sold. Read More ›

Price Of A Common Surgery Varies From $39,000 To $237,000 In L.A.

by Chad Terhune and Sandra Poindexter, Los Angeles Times

surgical team seen from perspective of a patient on a gurney

The average charge nationwide for a major joint replacement operation was $54,239, according to federal figures. Joint replacement surgeries are Medicare’s most common inpatient procedure, costing the federal government more than $6.6 billion in 2013. Overall, the latest data show what hospitals charged and what Medicare paid for 100 of the most common inpatient stays and the 30 most common outpatient procedures. The inpatient data cover more than $62 billion of Medicare money. Read More ›

CFC Sponsors Bill To Protect Seniors From Unethical Long-Term Care Referral Agencies

SACRAMENTO – The Consumer Federation of California (CFC) is sponsoring Senate Bill 648 (Mendoza, D-Artesia) to increase disclosure requirements and strengthen oversight of private placement agencies that refer seniors to residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs). Read More ›

Debt Collectors Hound Millions Of Retired Americans

by Herb Weisbaum, NBCNews.com

telemarketing to elderly

The CFPB report noted that some of the seniors who complained about debt collectors expressed concern that “the distress of being harassed by a debt collector aggravates existing medical conditions and thereby endangers their health.” … The CFPB advisory has sample letters that can be used to find out information about the claims being made, dispute the debt and request that a debt collector stops collection communications. If you are having a problem with a debt collector, you can file a complaint with the CFPB. Read More ›

Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients

by Ina Jaffe, Robert Benincasa, National Public Radio

NPR’s analysis [of federal data] found that harsh penalties are almost never used when nursing home residents get unnecessary drugs of any kind. … The agency’s new goal for nursing homes is an additional 15 percent reduction in antipsychotic drug use by the end of 2016. But even if that goal is met, it will mean that after a five-year effort, almost a quarter of a million nursing home residents will still be getting largely unnecessary and potentially lethal antipsychotic drugs. Read More ›

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Reverse Mortgage Just Because Fred Thompson Tells You to

by Ashlee Kieler, Consumerist

Reverse mortgages have been found to leave families with debts they can never repay, four-in-five payday loans are made to consumers already caught in the debt trap, and on average 54% of students who attend a for-profit college leave without a degree — with one-in-five of those students defaulting on their loans. … Consumers Union, along with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform provided comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding consumers’ use of reverse mortgages. Read More ›