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Letter: Many ignore nursing home troubles

Medford Multicare Center for Living is accused of

Medford Multicare Center for Living is accused of putting its most vulnerable residents at risk with "reckless cuts of medication, staff and supplies," even causing death, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a civil suit filed Monday, Feb. 11, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

The deplorable situation involving the infamous Medford Multicare Center for Living must not be allowed to fade from public view, as have so many cases of neglect and abuse of nursing home patients in the past ["The nightmare nursing home," Editorial, Feb. 18].

Presumably, the state attorney general's allegations of substandard treatment and the looting of public funds by the home's owners will be subject to due process in court. Not so presumable is the expectation that if the charges are upheld, those found guilty will receive appropriate punishment. Nor, unless systemic changes are made, will this be the last time we see this sad scenario play out.

The players in this dismal tale include the lax state Department of Health, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the State Legislature, the judiciary, hospital discharge planners, attending physicians, unions and professional associations, the state long-term care ombudsman and the nursing home industry itself. This is a long list of absent and failed protectors.

While there are other nursing homes and rehabilitation centers known to have significant deficiencies, most such facilities in Nassau and Suffolk counties offer satisfactory care. Some are superior, and a few are outstanding. They are likely to be the ones that build ethics and accountability into their operations and have strong, ongoing quality assurance programs.

Robert W. Mackreth, Massapequa

Editor's note: The writer is a retired social work consultant to Long Island hospitals and nursing homes.