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Nursing home pot calls industry critics black

Like a stuck pig, every time a well-placed jab comes from well-informed critics of Louisiana’s nursing home industry, if it has anything to do with Shreveport media, you can count on local nursing home owner and industry official Denny “Kit” Gamble to squeal using facts and logic that only the uninformed are likely to buy.

In response to a critical letter about the industry to the Shreveport Times, Gamble again goes into his routine of trying to justify the unjustifiable, starting by writing that Louisiana has the lowest Medicaid (of which Louisiana nursing homes get about 85 percent of their business, topping the nation) reimbursement rate. Of course, he fails to report this figure is influenced downwards by the fact that Louisiana, almost alone among states, pays for empty beds and whose other averages of financial support of nursing homes together are at the top of all the states.

He then whines about how some nursing homes are going out of business even as their average profit is above 15 percent. Never mind this is a result of overexpansion because too many poor businessmen, thinking they could live off escalating revenues from taxpayers forever, now find health care economics going against them.

But these complaints about finances aim towards the larger point, the defense of the poor record that Louisiana nursing homes have in quality of care. Gamble has the chutzpah to hint that, despite all the facts showing the privileged financial position that nursing homes enjoy in the state, that it is lack of funding that causes these problems! And then he accuses the letter writer to which he responds of a hidden agenda in publicizing nursing home records of violations.

In fact, Gamble’s own company has had major problems in keeping up quality standards. While its Shreveport Guest House showed just one major violation in its last annual report conducted by the state, its Shreveport Spring Lake facility’s report showed seven violations with “potential for more than minimal harm,” and its Shreveport Manor Guest Care Center had 10 of these with two additional “immediate jeopardy” citations. In Ruston, things get worse with its Alpine facility where all five results are “potential for more than minimal harm” a year after a finding of “actual harm.” Worst of all is its Bastrop Cherry Ridge facility, with its latest annual report containing seven “potential for more than minimal harm” and three “actual harm” citations.

If Gamble is going to suggest that reports of care problems among Louisiana nursing homes are exaggerated and driven by bad faith agendas, he needs to put his own house in order before he has any moral authority to criticize others’ reporting on his problems.

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