Nursing Home Insurance

Nursing Home Rates and Equipment Breakdown

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have implemented technology and equipment to improve the quality of care and comfort to their residents and their staff. However, because they depend on many types of electrical, mechanical and computer-controlled equipment to support facility operations, this requires assisted living facility insurance for equipment breakdown or malfunctions which could render their operations with the inability to properly facilitate the lives of the residents living there.

These issues could affect nursing home rates whereas the equipment that is subject to breakdown could cause long-term business interruption. Think of the consequences of an interruption to a facility during a power outage. There could be panic, fear and the real possibility of injuries occurring should it happen at night. Electricity is so critical that many owners make sure that their facilities are equipped with emergency generators to support critical functions during electrical service interruptions.

Business interruption can be costly

The types of hazards you may experience require proper planning. Concerns can obviously be magnified when a facility contains elderly people all in different states of poor, or even failing health. If temperatures inside the facility climb too high or too low, and there are health risks involved, a decision would likely have to be made to evacuate the residents to other care facilities.

Electrical breakdown is generally the most frequent type of loss. Any damage to circuit breakers, motors or electrically control equipment utilized to support facility operations can result in long periods where the facility is not suitable for residence. This can lead to significant property damage and interruption of normal operations for days or even longer until necessary repairs can be made or replacements installed.

Boilers, air conditioning, heating and ventilation equipment are all needed to provide comfort to residents. When new, or properly serviced, this equipment is considered quite reliable, but it is also highly susceptible to the perils of breakdown. Most jurisdictions require boilers and pressure vessels to be inspected regularly by a qualified inspector. These services may be provided at no charge as part of equipment breakdown coverage under any assisted living facility insurance package. Help keep nursing home costs down by properly maintaining your equipment.

Nursing Homes Insurance and the Nursing Home Reform Act

Since Congress passed a law designed to improve the quality of nursing homes 20 years ago, facilties have improved. While nursing homes are often praised for the services and care they provide to the elderly, there remains an ever-increasing public concern over the quality of care in nursing homes. The regulations set forth back in 1987 were intended to define minimum standards of care, as well as promote and protect the rights of residents and aimed to provide residents with a higher quality of life.

After all, nursing home residents should be treated with dignity and respect, and any claims of abuse often results in a lawsuit being filed. With nursing home Insurance cost constantly going up to meet the needs of these facilities, brokers should instruct their clients to do everything possible to maintain a safe environment for patients and residents.

Improving conditions have helped with resident concerns

One of the biggest improvements since the passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act is the reduction in the use of physical restraints, which can decrease a resident’s muscle tone and cause other health problems. Staffing levels have improved somewhat, but studies indicate that nursing homes are still significantly understaffed. In addition, there were noted improvements in the system immediately after the law’s passage.

Some of the most significant changes seen in the nursing home environment include a stronger emphasis on enhancing residents’ quality of life along with the care they receive,
Proper diagnosis and treatment provided for residents suffering from mental illness, and uniform certification standards for Medicare and Medicaid homes. Nursing homes must provide services and activities to attain, or maintain, the highest physical, mental, and psychosocial well being of each resident in accordance with their written plan of care.

Facilities that fail to meet federal minimum care standards have received stricter punishments and citations, but they have also strived to develop an individualized care plan for residents, along with a provision of services and activities allowing residents to reach their highest mental and physical peaks.

Most nursing homes provide a safe and healthy environment for their residents. Their aim is to provide the best possible care at all times, but elder abuse continues to be a concern and residents should be afforded protection from facilities not operating with their personal safety in mind. Everything must be done to ensure that nursing home Insurance cost remains at an affordable level for clients operating these much-needed facilities.

Lowering Nursing Home Insurance Coverage Claims

Insurers can help aid their nursing home employers in the battle to reduce the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in their facilities. MSDs are quite common among healthcare providers who experience repetitive behaviors during a normal workweek, which often includes a lot of heavy lifting. Nursing home insurance coverage for workers, specifically a workers comp policy, will aid workers injured while performing the duties of their jobs.

This type of strain generally results in common conditions such as lower back pain, sciatica, rotator cuff injuries, epicondylitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. By instituting a program of physical fitness, including stretching and exercises prior to the start of the workday, one could potentially reduce the number of work-related injuries among staff.

Much remains to be learned about the relationship between workplace activities and the development of MSDs. However, OSHA believes that the experiences of many nursing homes provide a basis for taking action to better protect workers. As the information and technology improves, we can hope to get a better understanding of how these injuries develop and better guidelines and safety procedures in the prevention of MSDs.

Proper fitness techniques can benefit employees

Most small employers, in particular, may not have the need for as comprehensive a program as larger facilities might benefit from. But safety and fitness can provide help to the nursing home industry, as well as employers with similar work environments, such as assisted living centers, homes for the disabled, homes for the aged, and hospitals.

Fortunately, nursing homes that have implemented injury prevention efforts focusing on resident lifting and repositioning methods have achieved considerable success in reducing work-related injuries and any associated nursing home insurance coverage workers’ compensation costs.

Providing a safer and more comfortable work environment has also resulted in additional benefits for some facilities, including reduced staff turnover as well as training and administrative costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, improved employee morale, and increased resident comfort.

It only benefits insurers that provide their recommendations for employers in an attempt to help them reduce the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in their facilities by using those methods found to be successful in the nursing home environment.

Steps to Prevent Nursing Home Professional Liability

By nature of caring for the elderly, a portion of society that is more prone to accidents resulting in injury, Long Term care (LTC) facilities must have caring, attentive physicians working at their facilities to reduce the potential for claims. Nursing home professional liability insurance will aid in defense of lawsuits, but prudent behavior and a sound risk management plan will be equally beneficial.

The recent escalation in nursing home litigation has, unfortunately, adversely affected the practice environment in the nursing home community. These facilities must take steps to assure relatives that loved ones left in their care will be properly treated, otherwise any fears or concerns will only be heightened when, and if, an incident occurs.

A well-trained staff can reduce accidents resulting in claims

Owners must take every precaution to ensure that they do not put physicians at risk, placing them in situations that could leave them vulnerable to litigation. Although a medical director may not even have knowledge of an incident which has occurred, he or she may be asked to give a deposition to ascertain that, had they known about the incident when it occurred (and had intervened at the time), the clinical outcome would likely have been more favorable to the resident. They should be doing everything in their power to reduce the likelihood of a threat to the quality of care for their frail, elderly attendees.

Effective risk management requires identifying litigation-prone areas and implementing preventive or corrective actions throughout a facility. The areas of concern common among most facilities are pressure ulcers, malnutrition and dehydration, and injurious falls. Other areas that should be addressed to reduce any possible concerns include adverse drug events, burns due to unsafe smoking practices, elopement, untreated and/or undiagnosed changes in a medical condition, and improper discharge of a resident.

The best defense against litigation, aside from nursing home professional liability coverage, is simply improving the quality of care. In order to reach this goal, owners of the nursing home, along with administrators and employees, must address existing issues, and attempt to improve overall care. This plan must include the presence and active participation of the attending physician and medical director, and be carried out in a way so that all team members feel a responsibility to help improve care within the facility.

Understanding Nursing Home Insurance

Unlike most businesses, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have many different needs when it comes to insurance policies. In addition to carrying liability coverage and workers’ compensation, assisted living facilities must also consider coverage for directors and offers as well as instances of physical and sexual abuse. All of these factors help to determine the cost of nursing home insurance.

Major Factors to Consider

Assisted living facilities are in a unique situation, and they need coverage that’s flexible while providing benefits that will protect them in the event of a tragedy. When determining what insurance policies they need, many nursing homes consider:

  • Probability of employee dishonesty – actions like theft or physical assault can be covered by insurance policies
  • Condition of the property and its additions – older property will more likely necessitate insurance coverage
  • Transportation – the more frequently assisted living facilities drive their residents around, the more they need automobile coverage
  • Residents’ personal property – nursing homes that allow residents to bring many of their personal effects may want to look into policies that cover such items.

Safeguarding Finances

The cost of nursing home insurance may seem high at first, but the financial consequences of being uninsured far outstrip the price of a quality policy. Assisted living facilities that plan for long-term success take into account the possibility of a tragedy and take steps to protect themselves from financial ruin.

 

photo credit: Painting with Seniors – Buddy (license)