Crisis looms at long-term nursing homes in Detroit
Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News
Detroit -- Detroit nursing homes are facing a long-term care crisis because of loss of Medicare funding and the perception they provide substandard care, according to a study released Wednesday by the Detroit Area Agency on Aging. In the last 10 years, the number of nursing homes in the city has dropped from 50 to 33, with another home expected to close within the next year, according to the study.
"And there are no plans to build new nursing homes within the city," said Gerrard L. Gumbleton Jr. of Plante and Moran in Southfield.
The study also showed that Detroit nursing homes have a poor image even though residents interviewed in all 33 homes reported that they were happy with the care they received.
In 2008, 5,341 Detroit residents were admitted to nursing homes; of these, 44 percent were admitted to a Detroit facility while 56 percent went to non-Detroit facilities."
According to Gumbleton, that meant a loss of $900,000 to $1.4 million in taxes to Detroit and up to $118 million in Medicare, Medicaid and private funds that would have stayed within the city.
The study also found that Detroit nursing homes are highly dependent on Medicaid funding.
Those with mental illnesses, the developmentally disabled and younger, chronically sick adults with illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or HIV/AIDS are often at the homes, said Paul Bridgewater, president and CEO of the DAAA.
The study offered a number of recommendations:
• Get banks to invest in the city of Detroit.
• Support the building of nursing homes.
• Make quicker Medicaid payments to nursing homes.
• Provide more money to train nursing home staff and upgrade facilities.
• Expand in-service education for health care workers.