Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where's Ombudsman on Carlyle/ManorCare Deal?

The Carlyle Group's purchase of huge nursing home provider, ManorCare, needs an ombudman. Where's the impartial third party capable of investigating patient quality problems and holding a health care company's feet to the fire? The long term care consumer advocate wrote the Toledo Blade on how she can help patients and their families.

As the state long-term care ombudsman, my role is to resolve problems for long-term care consumers wherever they live, facilitate public comment on long-term care issues, and monitor and comment on public policy.

The problem is the ombudsman is needed on the deal itself. Carlyle has a past failure to long term acute care hospital patients that has never been addressed. After Hurricane Katrina, Calyle affiliate, LifeCare had the largest hospital death toll. George Bush's White House couldn't even put this fact in its Lessons Learned report. That whitewash proved his and foul mouthed Fran's inability to act as an ombudsman.

Anyone who has a question or concern about long-term care services should contact an ombudsman at 800-282-1206. We can provide information about regulatory surveys, family and resident satisfaction with facilities, and verified complaints.

Who failed as an ombudsman in regard to the treatment of long term acute care patients post Katrina and its bearing on the Carlyle/ManorCare merger? Both Texas Senators, Rep. Mike Conaway, The White House, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission and the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospitals.

If Carlyle can fail one of twenty one long term acute care hospitals in time of crisis, what can they do with 550 mostly nursing home facilities? Afterwards, expect them to blame the feds and throw their clinicians under the bus. They have a clear history of both with LifeCare. Why this has gotten zero attention is simply amazing. (Update: Santa delivered ManorCare to Carlyle according to a December 24th Washington Post article)