Five nursing homes have been fined by the state, including a facility in Westport where money was taken from residents’ trust funds. Westport Rehabilitation Complex was fined $8,120 following the discovery of the thefts and another incident in which a resident was injured. An investigation found that 20 residents had money missing from their resident trust funds and a facility business office manager was responsible, according to the Department of Public Health (DPH). In total, $3,161 was taken from the residents’ accounts. According to the citation, the missing funds were discovered in November 2018 when an employee alerted the facility’s administrator of “concerns regarding the facility-managed residents’ trust funds.” Several withdrawal documents appeared to have been altered with Wite-Out.
Most Connecticut nursing homes will see their Medicare reimbursements reduced in the coming year for having high resident readmission rates to hospitals. Of Connecticut’s 224 nursing homes, 75 percent (168) are being penalized by Medicare based on how often their residents were re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge. Twenty-five percent (56) in Connecticut are receiving bonuses for having few readmissions, according to a Kaiser Health News (KHN) analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the first time nursing homes are being penalized or rewarded based on how many of their residents are readmitted to hospitals for conditions that could have been prevented. Medicare has administered a similar program for hospitals since the 2013 fiscal year.
Three years ago, Meredith Phillips’ mother, Georgia Svolos, fell and broke her kneecap, setting off a downward spiral that landed her in nursing homes on and off for a year. In one facility, she fell and broke her knee again, necessitating more surgery. All of the facilities were noisy and chaotic, and one smelled of feces. So, when Phillips learned recently about moves by the Trump administration to ease regulations and fines on nursing homes, she was alarmed. “I’m horrified and frightened,” says Phillips, who lives in Westbrook.