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Elder care reform could jeopardize seniors' health

California senior citizens could be in for some big changes in the health care and nursing home realm in the coming years, as the state looks to reshuffle the way it currently doles out nursing home and health care payments as well as care to low-income senior citizens. While supporters of the plan are optimistic it may save the state something in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars, people are concerned that it will cause disruptions in the system that could lead to nursing home neglect.

The new plan for California is to consolidate nursing home and in-home care services for senior citizens under one administrative umbrella. While this may eventually lead to better continuity of care for seniors who bounce between these two types of care, it also puts an enormous strain on the managed care plans that may not be able to provide the high level of care that senior citizens require.

Many assisted living facilities are already understaffed, which can lead to tragic and fatal consequences. For example, a nursing home in Rancho Bernardo was just fined $100,000 by the state for an instance of nursing home negligence it says directly led to the death of a patient. Last October, a man with a known food compulsion choked to death when a nurse failed to follow physician's orders to serve him only cut-up food.

Whether California's senior health care reforms help out is still to be determined, but it is nothing short of tragic when the elderly and infirm suffer because of nursing home negligence. California seniors don't have to continue to suffer; people who suspect a loved one has been victimized should consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: New America Media "Will California's Eldercare Reform Help or Hurt?" Daniel Weintraub, April 20, 2013

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