Monday, November 12, 2007


The sort of thing described in the article below really gets my dander up.

Older Americans deserve far better treatment then they are getting at some assisted living center in Washington state. Residents, their families, and loved ones got the word out of the blue. The Milwaukee-based parent company Assisted Living Concepts Inc., which owns Victoria House in Port Townsend, would no longer honor Medicaid for nine residents there. Nine human beings who are just trying to live out their lives as best they can are to be tossed out of the place they call home. It may not be a home you are I would like to be living in right now, but it is a home all of us might someday find ourselves fighting to stay in.

You know I don't much care who is at fault, the state, the feds, the company, whoever. It doesn't much matter to me. What matters to me is the lack of respect and care for those who cared for all of us which this action demonstrates.

It happens all the time.

My mom had Alzheimer's Disease. After my father died, she lived alone in the place they'd called home since the late 60s. I lived a few miles away. My sister lived in another city. I quit my day job, spent a considerable amount of time with her, and was able to keep her in her in that home as long as humanly possible. Probably too long.

Finally the time came when it was just too dangerous. The possibility for any subsidized long term in home care was not there.

Now maybe you will argue that one of us should have taken her into our home and continued her care there. But that is a personal decision and we decided another way. Neither of us felt that was a safe or reasonable option anymore. We did find a very nice place (see picture) that specialized in caring for people with Alzheimer's near where my sister lived. She visited mom every single day for hours on end. It cost just about everything my folks had saved in a lifetime of work for mom to be there. She was fortunate to have some savings to make the payments necessary for more than a year. Many don't have that option.

As the time approached when the money was running out and she'd have to shift to medicaid coverage, the place let us know there wouldn't be a bed available. They had only a very few for medicaid patients. Not all nursing homes even accept medicaid. Many others restrict the number of Medicaid "beds" in the nursing home. That was the case here.
She had to move out to another facility.

The new place mom went wasn't bad, but the last thing a person with Alzheimer's needs is to be moved.

She died not much later.

We, the people, should do something about this. It isn't right.

The following is from the Peninsula Daily News (Port Angeles, WA).

Elderly face critical change of rules at PT center

By Jeff Chew, Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND - At 96, legally blind and nearly deaf, Luella Campbell had every expectation of living her final days in the Victoria House assisted living center.

Her son, Doug Campbell of Port Townsend, expected to continue visiting her in the senior living community of 39 units on Discovery Road.

"The doctor told me I should put her in a place where she wouldn't be moved again," he said, remembering when he placed his mother there in February 2006.

"So it was paramount that I not move her again."

He said that the facility's former director assured him that Medicaid would pay for his mother's care if her own money ran out.

That was before the assisted living center's most recent residence director, Wayne Pattison, got the word on Nov. 1 that the Milwaukee-based parent company Assisted Living Concepts Inc., would no longer honor Medicaid for nine residents, including Luella Campbell.

Only private pay residents are to be accepted after that date.

The company's action at Victoria House does not affect Medicaid-covered residents at Assisted Living Concept's Prairie Springs center in Sequim or Laurel Park in Port Angeles, said Laurie Bebo, company president.

Pattison cited the Washington Center for Assisted Living's written position that the state "shortchanges assisted living care" when it comes to Medicaid.

"There's nothing personal with this," he said. "This is just business."

Doug Campbell said it's an extremely personal business.

He watched painfully as his mother's $70,000 life savings dwindled in 18 months, while she paid nearly $4,000 each month for her care.

Threatened with the possibility of eviction, she had to seek Medicaid.

Her son vehemently opposes moving the residents in their twilight years, especially his mother.

"I am concerned it will be too much of a shock for her," Doug Campbell said.

He also doesn't want his mother moved hundreds of mile away to a company facility in Kelso, about 200 miles south of Port Townsend.

"I check in with her at least three times a week, but I can't do that if it's in Kelso," said Campbell, a Tacoma native who has lived in Port Townsend since 2000.

"It might as well be on the moon some place."

Campbell plans to contact Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, this week to seek legislative help for people like his mother.

Campbell and others in Port Townsend are planning a 1 p.m. Saturday protest in front of Victoria House.

Help available
Kevin Krueger, the state's Department of Social and Health Services regional administrator for Home and Community Services, said help is available.

"We're just sad about this situation, and we're going to be working with the residents affected by this situation, and will try our best," Krueger said.

He refers the families of those in need at Victoria House to see the agency's Web site at medicaid.htm.

"They need to contact a DSHS home and community services case worker or nurse assigned to their facility," Krueger said.

"Our responsibility in the process is to help Medicaid clients in need of care to find placements for their needs."

Pattison said the facility is already in the process of relocating several of the residents.

Bebo said that Assisted Living Concepts discontinued honoring Washington state's Medicaid program at Victoria House because it covers only assisted living care residents.

Residents in need of dementia care or skilled nursing care, she said, require at least five hours of direct supervision a day, compared to about two hours a day under assisted living.

"They'e demanding that we would take care of these patients, and we're saying, 'No, it's too much of a risk,' " Bebo said.

The Victoria House staff of about 20 is trained only for the assisted living care level.

"These people are no longer safe in our environment because they require far more care than we can provide, and are a risk to our employees," Bebo said

Doug Campbell said that his mother does not fall into the dementia or nursing skill level categories.

She can still move around quickly on her walker and is capable of bathing herself in a shower, he said.

Another remarkable fact about his mother, he said, is that she does not take any medications.

Victoria House has been accepting Medicaid payments since Victoria House opened 10 years ago, according to Bebo.

"Unfortunately, the state disagreed about moving these folks on, and it basically comes down to the cost of the state," Bebo said.

The state Medicaid waiver program pays about $65 a day for assisted living, compared to $110 a day for skilled nursing care.

"Medicaid amounts to about 65 percent of what we charge," Bebo said.

Pattison agreed, saying, "It doesn't help a corporation that's trying to stay viable."

WCAL, the state's residential-care advocacy organization, calls for the Legislature to boost daily reimbursement for Medicaid recipients to $71.44 from $59.58.


Assisted Living Concept Westerville said...

I think Assisted Living Residents is the best option in this kind of situation but one should keep many aspects in mind before considering assisted living residents for their loved ones because a facility that is titled "Assisted Living" does not mean it will be similar to others.

Oread Daily said...

Assisted living does not work with someone with severe Alzheimer's disease. They need far too much help.