It is hard for me to watch or read the reports coming from the Florida nursing home where eight elderly died from the heat after hours of neglect.
They died because the elderly and the sick are not a priority.
I mean officially, they were not a priority.
Broward County officials, though, said in a statement that they had relied on a Florida Power & Light document saying that nursing homes were “non-critical, but play a decisive role in community recovery,” suggesting they were considered a high priority for restoration but not the highest. On Tuesday morning, after the nursing home reported that the air-conditioning was out, county officials asked the utility to make it, along with other nursing homes, a higher priority, the officials said.
As of yesterday, over 160 Florida nursing homes still had no power.
County officials placing nursing homes on a less than highest priority for recovery is one problem.
Even more life threatening is the system of for-profit health care and the crooks who profit from it.
Like Jack Michel, for instance. He owns the nursing home where the eight old people were allowed to die in sweltering heat and humidity.
Jack Michel, the sole person listed on the nursing home’s corporate registration in Florida, appears to have been accused of fraudulent activity in the past. A person by the same name was among several people who were listed as current or former owners of a Miami hospital and who paid a $15.4 million settlement over an alleged scheme in which the hospital “paid kickbacks to physicians in return for patient admissions,” according to the Department of Justice.
(NPR reporter) Jon (Hamilton) adds that there are other causes for concern about the Hollywood facility:
“It appears that there’s a pending lawsuit alleging negligence. Under a previous owner, the place was found to have committed Medicare fraud. … There’s been a bankruptcy, a change of ownership and Medicare inspectors have given this place below-average ratings.”
And please recall that it was Bruce Rauner’s equity firm, GTCR, that made him tons of money by investing in crooked nursing home deals in Florida.
Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner on Monday avoided questions about his ties to a troubled nursing home chain, while a federal trial in Florida began hearing evidence on claims that Rauner’s old private equity firm participated in a scheme to avoid liability for patient deaths.
At the trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, plaintiff attorneys played videotaped deposition testimony from an elderly graphic artist with no nursing home experience who expressed bewilderment over how he came to be listed as the sole shareholder of a company that bought nursing home chain Trans Healthcare Inc. as it was in financial freefall in 2006.
One last thought on all this.
This afternoon I will be attending a gubernatorial candidate’s forum at a luncheon of my chapter of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. Bruce Rauner was invited by will not be attending. All those attending are Democrats.
If I get a chance I will be asking each one how they intend to pay the teacher pension liability of $130 billion. It is a debt that exists because the state did not meet their obligation to pay their share for decades and decades.
There are only two choices.
One is to raise the revenue, change the way we raise revenue so that the rich pay their share and pay what is owed.
The other choice that is being considered is to reduce the pension benefit going forward, change the system to a private 401(k) and do nothing about the pension debt because we will die eventually and that will solve it.
I will try to ask the candidates if we are a priority.