Texas-Based Chain of Elder Care Homes under Fire
Written by NHAbuseGuide on May 10, 2015
A major chain of nursing homes based out of Texas is currently coming under a lot of fire. Preferred Care Partners Management Group calls the Lone Star State home, but also has locations in 10 other states, stretching from Arizona to Iowa to Florida. However, their main problem for the moment resides in New Mexico. That’s where Attorney General Hector Balderas is pursuing claims that the company’s facilities are leaving elderly people to suffer from unheard of neglect.
A Lack of Staff
There are a number of horrifying violations alleged in the claims against Preferred Care Partners Management Group. However, at the heart of them all seems to be the issue of being short staffed. Balderas claims that this lack of staff makes it impossible for residents to get the care they need.
As a result, elderly people are left lying in urine-soaked beds for prolonged periods of time because no one got to them during the prior rotation. Others remain stuck on toilet seats for the same reason. Then there are stories about people getting legitimate injured or even dying because there’s no one around to supervise or save them.
Preferred Care Fights Back
For their part, Preferred Care Partners Management Group responded by saying they were confident in the services their staff provides at all of their New Mexico facilities. They even went so far as to claim that the Attorney General was nitpicking by focusing on incidents that happened at facilities before the company bought them, rendering them now a nonissue.
It gets potentially worse though. Preferred Care Partners Management Group also claims that they are being targeted as part of a private-public partnership to shakedown businesses in New Mexico.
The New York Times actually ran a piece on this situation in which they actually highlighted the company and their problems in New Mexico. How it works is that a private law firm finds companies to go after. They then partner with the state to be commissioned to do so. Once the private firm lands a victory, both parties split the proceeds.
While it definitely appears as though the former attorney general was approached by a firm about just such a plan involving Preferred Care Partners Management Group, that doesn’t necessarily mean any wrongdoing was involved. According to Balderas, he took his time reviewing the evidence after his predecessor left office and only made a move when it became obvious that something horrible was happening in his state.
The Basis of the Lawsuit
Another thing New Mexico has going for it is the basis for their case, which was rather novel. Instead of going off the stories of former employees and the family of residents—of which they have many—the attorney general’s office took a more objective approach.
The focus of their argument is that Preferred Care Partners Management Group’s homes in New Mexico are understaffed. If they are understaffed, then neglect would be an indisputable byproduct and the stories they’ve collected would carry more weight.
In order to make their argument, the attorney general’s office figured out the average amount of time a worker would need helping residents with basic tasks like walking to the bathroom, getting cleaned up, having a meal, etc. After that, it was just a matter of proving that there simply weren’t enough staffers available to handle all the hours of work required by the demands of each home.
It’s also important to remember that Preferred Care Partners Management Group made 80% of their money in 2008 from state and federal subsidies and most likely still does. Part of accepting that money meant complying with specific rules. Even if they don’t get busted for neglect, then, they may still be in a lot of trouble.