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Study Cites Violations in Nursing Home Policies

By Kelley Weiss

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-661920.mp3

Kansas City, MO – A recent study by an advocacy group, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, found inconsistencies in how Missouri nursing homes admit residents. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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The report studied admission policies for more than 150 Missouri nursing homes. The study's author and director of the National Senior Citizens Law Center's long-term care project, Eric Carlson, says many policies did not comply with state and federal laws. For example, he says 75 percent of homes do not guarantee property protection and some agreements limit family visits or require family members to take on unnecessary financial responsibilities.

And, Carlson says, Missouri has some of the most lenient laws in the country allowing liability waivers. Carlson says one in five homes had residents sign agreements that said things like:

Eric Carlson: "I'm sorry there's nothing we can do about it. People choke, people fall, people are dehydrated and that's just the way it is."

At the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Debra Cheshier, works in long-term care regulation and says the state is concerned about any violations.

Debra Cheshier: "We do have a fair number of complaints that allege some complaint about resident rights."

Cheshier says the state is working on training more homes on proper admission criteria.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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