The Denver Post had a great article on how Colorado has allowed nursing homes to violate state licensing and operational requirements such as manadatory minimum insurance. The Health Care Availability Act requires that nursing homes be insured for $3 million a year, with a cap of $500,000 per incident. But they also may provide self-insurance if it is approved by the Colorado insurance commissioner. This lack of insurance leaves vulnerable residents without recourse when they are abused and neglected.
"These people die, they get abused, and they have no redress," said John Holland. "It’s like a state license to kill without financial responsibility." A lawsuit has been filed to try to get Colorado to follow the law. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the state to make sure the homes are properly insured and to revoke licenses of homes that are not.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the families of four people who died in nursing homes and a man who was scalded and lost a testicle as a result of alleged abuse, "grossly substandard care, life-threatening care" and negligence. They are representative members of a class of thousands of residents at 27 nursing homes statewide operated by the SavaSeniorCare chain.
Sava also is being sued for deceptive trade practices for promoting its company as "a leader in state of the art long-term care" and its facilities as the best in the business, while it has one of the worst records in the state with nursing home regulators.
Sava’s facilities racked up 1,464 citations for deficiencies from 2006 to 2008 — triple the national average. Twenty of the facilities are rated as below average, according to health department records. Residents have died of dehydration, malnutrition, and blood poisoning caused by neglected bed sores which called Sava’s quality of care "a horror story" compared with most other facilities in Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment adopted a policy in 2004 that allowed the homes to insure themselves if they submitted an affidavit stating that they have set aside up to $1 million for that purpose. The problem is that the affidavits are false, there is no money to back up the insurance claim, and the state did nothing to verify that the money was there, the lawyers claim.