Friday, December 6, 2013

Oversight of Nursing Home Trust Funds Limited

Many states do not require criminal background checks on nursing home staff who manage residents' trust funds, and few demand audits of those accounts – a regulatory gap that contributes to scores of cases in which the money is stolen or mismanaged.

Nearly every state requires background checks for nursing home staff in caregiving roles, but 20 states don't apply that requirement to office workers who do not routinely have direct patient contact, a USA TODAY review of state laws finds. Those office employees typically manage the trust accounts that nursing homes must maintain for residents who request that the facility safeguard their money.

In an investigation published in October,  USA TODAY found that thousands of nursing home residents have had their savings stolen while held in the trust accounts, usually by business managers, bookkeepers and other office staff. Because the accounts generally don't have to be audited, those crimes often go undiscovered for months, even years, and the thefts can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Obviously, this is a problem that should be addressed, and obviously it's one that hasn't been addressed very well," says Janet Wells, former director of public policy for the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.

Federal law provides the regulatory framework for the nation's 16,000 nursing homes, which have to meet an array of standards to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Federal rules do not require audits for resident trust fund accounts, and most states take the same approach.

Full Article and Source:
Oversight of Nursing Home Trust Funds Limited

See Also:
Thefts From Nursing Home Trust Funds Target the Elderly


Betty said...

Here they go again, opportunitst stealing from the vulnerable.

Gracie said...

I don't quite understand why nursing homes would be managing trust funds?

Anonymous said...

It's usually their monthly spending money, Gracie, which the nursing facilities hold in trust for the patient.

So if the patient is on Medicaid, and they get $800 a month in Social Security, $760 of that is the patient pay that goes to the nursing facility, and the patient gets $40 a month in spending money for haircuts, clothes, and personal items. Medicaid pays the remainder of the monthly cost of care from state and federal funds.

The fact that anyone would take the trouble to steal such small amounts of money from people who have so little sheds a bright light on the enormity of the evil of these unspeakable crimes.

These are not people who should have anything to do with the elderly or disabled.