Earlier in September, more than four dozen nursing homes in Massachusetts were cited for falsely advertising dementia care services that they didn’t actually offer. The Boston Globe reported the story on September 16th and LiveSenior.Org has also been keeping up with the story and reporting details on the nursing home false advertising.
Department of Public Health Notification
The Department of Public Health reported that these nursing homes don’t actually meet the requirements set forth by the state for making the claim of offering dementia care. The Department’s action follows a July review by the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This review found that nearly 60% of of facilities that advertised memory care did not have the documented training, staffing or design requirements necessary to advertise such care.
Sherman Lohnes, the director of the division that monitors nursing homes, said that a statement of deficiency was sent to 52 nursing homes. The statement requires that each of these facilities take measures to rectify the violation. These nursing homes can either stop the advertising practices or take the necessary steps to fulfill the dementia care requirements. Failure to comply with the citation could result in addition penalties, although Lohnes did not go into detail about what those may be.
Additional 40 Homes Originally Notified
In addition to the facilities that were cited, the health department also found another 40 nursing homes that had been improperly advertising dementia care but changed their ads upon receiving a warning notice.
Massachusetts has about 400 nursing homes, so while the offending facilities do not represent a majory, they do represent a fairly significant portion of the states total nursing homes.
Response From Nursing Home Trade Groups
Helen Magliozzi, director of regulatory affairs for the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, a nursing home trade group, said nursing homes are “committed to doing the right thing and complying with the regulations and guidance provided by the [department],” but the state’s changing rules have made it difficult.
In addition, she noted that regulators completed their review of nursing home websites Aug. 23 — just two days after changing previous guidance given to nursing facilities. She said that the facilities are taking the letter seriously and she suspects that many locations had actually updated their websites before they even received the notifications.