A recent investigation by NBC News reveals a pattern of neglect and criminality at nursing homes and elder care facilities owned and operated by Skyline Healthcare. While the report is deeply disturbing, it reveals what nursing home negligence attorneys and victims know all too well: corporate cost cutting and low government oversight translate into systematic elder abuse and neglect.
Skyline Healthcare, owned by New Jersey investor and former insurance salesman Joseph Schwartz, came to manage over 100 nursing homes across 11 states. The company gobbled up extended care facilities as fast as possible and, in each case, slashed costs to the bone. Former employees reported to NBC that Skyline Healthcare ran up huge bills with vendors and would simply switch providers when the bills came due.
One former nursing home employee told NBC that she called a state agency to report that the water was about to be shut off at one facility. Other persons interviewed reported nursing home residents with horrible injuries and neglect. One had an open wound showing gangrene and even maggot infestation. In another incident, a resident with dementia walked out of her nursing home through broken automatic doors, collapsing in an ice-covered parking lot, naked and frost-bitten.
Most people would be horrified about these situations and would insist that nursing home chains be subject to oversight. At present, the federal authorities are understaffed and have trouble keeping up with changes in the industry. One of the only effective means for holding elder care facilities and corporate owners responsible is the civil lawsuit. An elder neglect or abuse lawsuit can force a nursing home to pay compensation. When this happens, it can motivate the company to change its negligent care practices to avoid further financial consequences.