Do you fear that your loved one has been neglected or abused at a “rehab” facility? What you may not know is that “rehab” facilities are nothing more than nursing homes by another name. They are governed by the same laws and rules as facilities that call themselves nursing homes because they are, in fact, simply nursing homes.
Thus, Dudensing Law’s expertise encompasses litigation against so-called “rehab” facilities. In fact, a significant percentage of Dudensing Law’s cases are against facilities with the name “rehab” or “rehabilitation” in them. This comes as no surprise given that many owners of large nursing home chains employ the rehab name to confuse consumers and maximize their profits by securing high reimbursement patients who have physical, occupational, and speech therapy (e.g., rehabilitation) needs. Indeed, nearly a quarter of all nursing homes in the country have a name that makes no reference to “nursing home” and instead are denominated with the deceptive “rehab” title. “Post-acute” and “sub-acute” are other common euphemisms for the same thing.
This confusion is sown deliberately by skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) seeking reimbursements from Medicare, which covers rehabilitative stays for up to 100 days.
According to a 2019 analysis from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, Medicare pays more than double the daily service fee typically paid by Medicaid, the program which generally provides coverage for poor, long term residents.
For the profit-hungry nursing home industry, those Medicare dollars represent an opportunity too tempting to resist: lure short term patients by masquerading as a rehab center, then evict them once their coverage runs out, or switch them to other, less lucrative sources of funding such as Medi-Cal.
This ruse is routinely pulled off by nursing homes across the state (and nationwide) who aggressively market their facilities as ‘short term rehab’ or ‘post acute care centers’ while falsely claiming to have limited or zero beds for long term stays. In some cases, SNFs require residents to acknowledge the limited availabilty of long term care beds as part of the admissions agreement – an illegal practice, motivated by profit at the expense of patient care.
Figures from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) suggest the elder care industry is moving toward a culture of profitable short-termism at an alarming rate.
In 2019, according to the OSHPD, 84 percent of nursing home residents were discharged after a stay of three months or less. Only six percent of residents remain in facilities for more than 12 months. Investors inevitably favor self-described short-stay rehab centers, and SNFs increasingly deploy short-term, Medicare-centric language in their brand messaging, while de-emphasizing language that promotes long-term care associated with other providers.
Web searches for nursing homes and rehab facilities offer no hint that any distinction drawn between the two is a mirage. When marketing themselves as ‘rehab centers’, SNFs boast about the retinue of nurses, pathologists, audiologists, pathologists, and other specialized medical staff employed to restore health following surgery or hospitalization for an injury. When the same entity markets itself as a nursing home, an entirely different set of qualifications and care priorities are presented to the public.
In both cases, facilities pull out all the stops to attract new business, enticing prospective residents with state-of-the-art amenities and beautifully appointed lobbies. Once those prospects are safely converted into fresh revenue streams via the dotted line, the truth becomes clear: inadequate care standards and ruthless eviction practices are built in to the business model of potemkin rehab centers.
If you have a loved one who you suspect has fallen prey to negligence or abuse, an experienced elder law attorney can advise you on what steps to take next and, if the evidence warrants legal action, guide you through the litigation process. To speak to an elder abuse attorney in Sacramento, call 916-448-6400, submit a contact form, or live chat with us using the button on the bottom right of your screen. Dudensing Law has handled scores of cases against “rehab” facilities (aka nursing homes) and can help you in fighting against the large corporations that own them to achieve justice.