PUTTING NURSING HOME PROFITS AHEAD OF NURSING HOME PATIENTS

Some of the most heart-wrenching stories of abuse, mistreatment and neglect you’re likely to hear involve nursing homes. As America’s baby boomers age, and nursing home populations continue to grow, big corporations have, not surprisingly, started to take note. In fact, the vast majority of nursing homes in the United States – 70%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – are run by for-profit corporations, and an increasing number of homes are being snapped up by Wall Street investment firms.

And that, in turn, can often mean that high quality care takes a backseat to high profits.

Increasingly, these giant corporations are using forced arbitration clauses — contract terms that say that people cannot sue them, no matter what laws they break, and instead people harmed by illegal acts can only bring cases before private arbitrators who are generally beholden to the corporations. These clauses make it far harder for the victims of mistreatment to hold a facility accountable where there’s abuse or serious negligence, and they minimize the incentive to provide the highest quality of care.  The secretive arbitration system also effectively lets homes sweep the facts about problems under the rug, so that the public and regulators never learn about widespread or egregious abuses.

That’s why, in 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said nursing homes should no longer receive federal funding if they use arbitration clauses in their contracts. It was a commonsense proposal that would ensure families can hold nursing homes accountable for abuse and neglect. The government essentially said – and rightly so – that protecting desperately vulnerable people is more important than squeezing out an extra percentage of profit for hedge fund owners.

But that was 2016. Now, the Trump Administration appears to be gearing up to kill the proposal.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN), a fierce opponent of arbitration who has fought corporate lobbyists to protect Americans’ right to their day in court, said on Tuesday that “the Trump Administration is planning to lift the ban on nursing home arbitration clauses.”

So the White House, it appears, is ready to deliver another gift to hedge funds and banks – the corporate entities that increasingly control the nursing home industry – at the expense of the sick and elderly and their families.

It’s no wonder why corporate lobbyists working for the nursing home industry have made killing the CMS proposal a top priority: unlike the public court system (where trials are open to the public, press and regulators), nursing homes benefit enormously from the secretive system of arbitration, where the facts about abuses can be (and often are) buried. “Confidentiality” provisions – which really translate into gag orders – and non-transparent, non-public handling make it easier for systemic problems to stay hidden, and to continue.

If nursing homes are permitted to continue opting out of the civil justice system, we can expect to see lower levels of care, and higher numbers of preventable injuries and deaths. If they succeed in keeping families out of court, the potential savings to their bottom line are enormous when you consider that abuse is very widespread (according to the government’s own study).  Public Justice, our national public interest law firm and advocacy organization, set forth an extensive factual and legal case in support of the CMS proposal, where a great deal more background is available.

Consider just a handful of the plaintiffs who were able to successfully challenge nursing homes in court:

  • A 90-year-old woman allowed to languish with a festering pressure sore, acute appendicitis, and a urinary tract infection so severe it has entered her blood.
  • A diabetic patient injected with the incorrect dose of insulin, sending them into hypoglycemic shock and causing brain damage.
  • An 81-year-old man who was viciously beaten by a roommate who’d been involved in 30 assaults prior to moving in with the victim.
  • An 87-year-old woman whose calls for help were ignored after she fell and broke her hip.

Had any of those patients been subject to an arbitration clause – as no doubt many future cases would be if the Administration folds to pressure from for-profit homes – they likely would have never had a chance to have their case heard by a jury.

Nursing homes have complete control over some of the most vulnerable and fragile people in the entire country: people who are gravely ill, who are often cognitively impaired in ways that make it hard for them to protect themselves, are completely at the mercy of these institutions.

Now, rather than working to give those patients some small measure of protection and security, the Trump Administration is poised to give them the shaft. It’s unconscionable back-pedaling that would leave millions with little recourse when they, or their loved ones, are mistreated or abused.

Article by Paul Bland for Public Justice

Photo by Chad Gierlich, via Flickr

Cindy Salaski is pleased to present her first novel, THE NEGLECTED ONES.

COMING SOON TO AMAZON – SUMMER OF 2017

Prominent landscape painter David Reid has just entered
the Twilight Zone.

After his mother is sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation, David soon learns the truth about Haven. Once a magnificent seaside hotel on the coast of Maine, the property is now managed by a greedy corporation and a nursing staff who neglect and abuse the residents. Dealing with the inept staff is an endless battle. And to make matters worse, David’s mother claims ghosts are haunting the facility.

Are the spirits hallucinations caused by her medications?

Or is Haven really haunted?

 

CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO READ CHAPTER ONE OF
THE NEGLECTED ONES.

TNO CHAPTER ONE

 

Oil Painting with the Masters – Best Seller on Amazon!

Salaski book cover

I am very pleased to announce that Oil Painting with the Masters is already a best-seller on Amazon.com! The book has been ranked #1 (in oil painting books) on several visits to Amazon. Rankings change hourly, and sales figures are currently based on pre-orders since the book is not scheduled for release for a few more weeks.

This book is just stunning!

I would like to thank all of the great Masters who contributed to the book along with my editors and the rest of the staff at F+W Media/North Light Books. Thanks to this wonderful team I believe we’ve hit a home run!

Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program

raybould_painter

Master at Work – Oil on Board – 9″ x 12″

Barry John Raybould, one of our Top Ten Oil Painting Masters of Today, has just released a brand new program of painting instruction called the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program. This is a major upgrade to his original Virtual Art Academy series of 50 publications which covered all aspects of painting, from drawing and form, to color, brushwork, and composition, that he first published in 2004.

He designed the new 2014 program to be equivalent to taking a four-year university course in painting, but with the flexibility of being able to do it in your own home and at your own pace. The key idea behind the program is that to become proficient at painting, it is not enough to watch demonstrations of other artists or take the occasional painting course here and there without any formal structure. Problems and frustrations in your paintings are nearly always a result of a poor foundation. To fix these problems you need to steadily build your foundation in a more structured way. This new apprentice program does just that. Once you have built your foundation in this way, your paintings will automatically show major improvement.

raybould_woman sitting

Maya, 2006 – Oil on Linen – 16″ x 16″

This new program basically models the way master artists over the centuries have learned to paint. It includes every piece of knowledge that Barry himself learned on his path to becoming one of our Top Ten Masters, all of which he carefully documented in a the detailed program notes that accompany the program. At the completion of the course you will have built up a reference library of 50 individual books on all aspects of painting. Barry also wrote all of the reading material for the program using a special structured writing methodology called “Information Mapping”, which helps make difficult concepts in painting exceptionally easy to understand.

The way the new Apprentice Program works is that the four-year course of study is broken down into sixteen workshops. Each workshop builds upon the skills you learned in the previous workshop. Once you have finished all the assignments in one workshop, you are ready to move on to the next workshop. You take each of these sixteen workshops sequentially. In this way you gradually and systematically build your foundation. You can take as long as you like to finish each workshop, there is no fixed schedule. In this way you can tailor the course to your own level.  For example, if you are a beginner or intermediate artist, you might want to do one workshop each quarter (about one lesson per week). On the other hand if you are a more advanced artist you might want to accelerate your program and two or more workshops each quarter, and so finish the course sooner.

Since a key aspect of the program is its focus on the principles underlying all good paintings, it is suitable for every media, from oils and acrylics, to watercolors and pastels, and even photography.

Each workshop is designed to contain about the same amount of information that you would get in an intensive one-week workshop with a professional artist. Those workshops would normally cost you around $1,000 to $2,000 including travel and lodgings.

With each workshop you get:

  • 12 lessons, each lesson covering a critical skill you need to learn to paint well. There are 192 lessons in total in the Apprentice Program
  • Between 1 and 3 learning assignments per lesson. These assignments are designed to help you fully master the concepts taught in the lesson. You can take as long as you like to complete the assignments.
  • At the end of each workshop there is a painting assignment that combines the new skills that you have just learned in that workshop
  • Access to the Virtual Art Academy online campus, a members-only forum where you can upload your assignments, and discuss them with other students. Many students report that this is one of the most beneficial features of the program. It helps motivate you to learn, and if you are in an isolated location, it gives you a convenient  way of being part of a worldwide community of like-minded artists working on the exact same assignments so that you can share your artistic journey, making it a lot more fun.

The new Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program was designed to provide a more affordable option to the online courses offered by major art academies and universities that cost $20,000 per year and up.  They have a very flexible fee structure in which you can become a member and pay as you go, month by month.

For more details, visit http://www.virtualartacademy.com

You can see examples of the Barry’s work on his website at http://www.bjrgallery.com

Camille Przewodek featured in new book “Oil Painting with the Masters”

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Camille Przewodek will appear in my new book, Oil Painting with the Masters: Essential Techniques from Today’s Top Artists. Published by F+W Media/North Light Books, it is scheduled for release in August 2014 and can be pre-ordered now.

Camille is featured in her own chapter which includes detailed background information about her, art instruction on the “Colorist Approach”, several beautiful paintings, and a step-by-step painting demonstration of a quaint little house surrounded by flowers and trees.

For more information about Camille Przewodek, click here.

Marc Hanson featured in new book “Oil Painting with the Masters”

MarcHansonHat

Marc Hanson will appear in my new book, Oil Painting with the Masters: Essential Techniques from Today’s Top Artists. Published by F+W Media/North Light Books, it is scheduled for release in August 2014 and can be pre-ordered now.

Marc is featured in his own chapter which includes detailed background information about him, art instruction on “Mood and Atmosphere”, several gorgeous paintings, and a step-by-step painting demonstration of a winter farm scene in the early morning light.

For more information about Marc Hanson, click here.

“Oil Painting with the Masters” by Cindy Salaski

Salaski book cover

I am pleased to announce that my first book, Oil Painting with the Masters: Essential Techniques from Today’s Top Artists, is now available for pre-order on amazon.com.

Published by F+W Media, this book features twenty of today’s greatest master oil painters. Kevin Macpherson, Laurie Kersey, Richard McKinley, Camille Przewodek, Phil Starke, George Gallo, Marc Hanson, Susan Lyon, Jeffrey Watts and Robert Johnson – all share their knowledge and their painting experiences with readers who are eager to learn how to master the art of oil painting.

The book also includes Albert Handell, Brent Jensen, Quang Ho, C. W. Mundy, Tibor Nagy, Glenn Harrington, Lawrence Churski, Guido Frick, Barbara Flowers and Jeremy Lipking.