An investigation by IndyStar has uncovered systemic corruption in Indiana’s nursing home care system, allowing state officials to divert billions of dollars in federal money meant for nursing home care and instead use it to fund other operations at county hospitals.
Meanwhile, nursing home residents suffered from horrific conditions, with many organizations rating Indiana’s nursing home care system among the worst in the nation. It’s impossible to even fully track where all the money went, as oversight agencies don’t have the resources and proper tools to ensure accountability, IndyStar reported.
How Money Was Diverted from Nursing Homes
Due to the poor conditions in many Indiana nursing homes, the state receives $679 million each year in supplemental Medicaid funds. This money is meant to go to nursing homes to improve elder care, and Indiana receives more of these funds than any other state.
To gain access to this pool of money and divert it instead to county hospital operations, officials in counties across Indiana acquired the licenses of various privately operated nursing homes. This allowed them to get money earmarked for government-owned nursing homes. Although some officials worried that the plan would be seen as “a sham,” according to confidential documents obtained by IndyStar, federal Medicaid officials approved it.
What Was the Money Used for Instead?
In many cases, the officials who were “operating” these nursing homes on paper worked at county hospitals. They then took the federal money meant for nursing care and instead used it to fund various upgrades and programs. In fact, many hospitals are now saying that it would be devastating to lose these funds, potentially costing Indiana as much as $1 billion.
Some of the projects reportedly paid for with the diverted nursing home funds include:
- A new $5 million rehabilitation center for Daviess County Hospital, along with six ambulances, an oncology center, EMS living quarters, and other upgrades.
- Schneck Medical Center in Jackson County took the money and used it to help fund a $44 million expansion. It also added a new ambulance station.
- Major Hospital in Shelby County used the money in part to build an $89 million new facility.
• The $754 million Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Marion County was paid for in part with the federal Medicaid funds.
Have Nursing Home Residents Suffered as a Result?
Indiana’s nursing home residents have endured dire conditions even as county hospitals used funds meant for them on pet projects. One woman reportedly fell 16 separate times during her stay at a nursing home, according to the IndyStar investigation. Senior advocacy agencies consistently give Indiana poor marks when it comes to elder care. AARP, for instance, rates Indiana’s elder care system as dead last.
Call Our Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
At Baker & Gilchrist, our dedicated team of nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are here to help if your loved one has been harmed in an Indiana nursing home. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.