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California Sues Nursing Home Chain, Saying It Manipulated Ratings System

California prosecutors sued the country’s largest chain of senior living communities on Monday, accusing the company, Brookdale Senior Living, of manipulating the federal government’s nursing-home ratings system.The lawsuit was filed by California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, and other prosecutors against Brookdale, which operates multiple nursing homes in the state.The lawsuit is among the first of its kind to accuse nursing homes of submitting false information to Medicare’s ratings program. The system assigns stars — one being the worst, five being the best — to the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes.The system is powered by …

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California Sues Nursing Home Chain, Accusing It of Manipulating Ratings System

The result, prosecutors said, was that Brookdale “has been awarded higher star ratings than it deserved.” They added, “The chain’s manipulation has allowed Brookdale to attract prospective patients and their families to its facilities by misleading them about its quality of care.”Prosecutors also accused Brookdale of illegally evicting or transferring residents so that the chain could “fill its beds with residents who will bring in more money.” In one instance highlighted in the suit, prosecutors said Brookdale discharged a 78-year-old resident who suffered from heart and kidney disease without removing his catheter.The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and …

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How U.S. Ratings of Nursing Homes Mislead the Public

The pandemic laid bare the flaws in the government rating system.The state health inspections do little to penalize homes with poor records of preventing and controlling infections. From 2017 to 2019, The Times found, inspectors cited nearly 60 percent — more than 2,000 — of the country’s five-star facilities at least once for not following basic safety precautions, like regular hand washing. Yet they earned top ratings.In San Bernardino, Calif., inspectors wrote up Del Rosa Villa for four different infection-control violations. It kept its five stars. Ninety residents at the 104-bed facility have contracted the coronavirus, and 13 have died.Del Rosa Villa officials …

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China’s Retirement Home Industry is Plagued by Ponzi Schemes

“It may have been a scam from the beginning,” she added.Seniors in rural areas could be especially vulnerable. They often live alone because their children have moved to big cities for jobs. About 16 million elderly people had been left behind in rural areas, according to a 2016 survey by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.Many older adults “don’t have the financial resources to pay for long-term care services and they don’t have children who can provide the care for them, so they are basically stuck,” said Bei Wu, a professor of public health at New York University who …

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Frustrations Boil at Pace of Vaccinations at Long-Term Care Facilities

In mid-December, a top Trump administration official floated an enticing possibility: All nursing home residents in the United States could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Christmas. “It’s really a remarkable, remarkable prospect,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, declared.It turned out to be a fantasy.A month later, vaccinations of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens are going more slowly than many state officials, industry executives and families expected. Their hopes had been buoyed when government officials said long-term care facilities would be at the front of the line for …

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Cash, Breakfasts and Firings: An All-Out Push to Vaccinate Wary Medical Workers

“If that doesn’t get you in line, I don’t know what will,” Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, said last month.At Houston Methodist, a hospital system in Texas with 26,000 employees, workers who take the vaccine will be eligible for a $500 bonus. “Vaccination is not mandatory for our employees yet (but will be eventually),” Dr. Marc Boom, the hospital’s chief executive, wrote in an email to employees last month.In an interview last week, Dr. Boom said the bonuses were “one of the many strategies to nudge people forward.” He added: “I do think we’ll get there. …

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F.D.A. Clears Moderna’s Covid Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized the coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna for emergency use, allowing the shipment of millions more doses across the nation and intensifying the debate over who will be next in line to get inoculated.The move will make Moderna’s vaccine the second to reach the American public, after the one by Pfizer and BioNTech, which was authorized just one week ago.The F.D.A.’s decision sets the stage for a weekend spectacle of trucks rolling out as expert committees begin a new round of discussions weighing whether the next wave …

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Vaccination Campaign at Nursing Homes Faces Obstacles and Confusion

CVS and Walgreens have created paper and digital consent forms that nursing homes can use. Consent must be given in advance; the pharmacies need to know how many doses of the vaccine, which must be kept very cold, to bring with them.There’s significant confusion among nursing homes about getting consent, especially when it involves representatives who aren’t physically at the nursing home and can’t come because of concerns about spreading the virus. Will an email suffice? What about consent over the phone? Or will consent forms have to be signed, either in hard copy or electronically? …

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