Short Funds and Mismanagement Result in Neglect, Displacement of Elderly Residents
Nursing Home Chain Collapses

In a report last week, NBC News revealed details about its investigation that a nursing home chain collapses.  It was one that grew at a precipitous rate before a slew of problems caused its collapse, leaving vulnerable residents to suffer the aftereffects. According to NBC News, financial failure, alleged maladministration, and serious resident neglect led to the crumbling of Skyline Healthcare.  Over the past two years, the permanent closure of 14 Skyline-run homes led to the displacement of over 900 elderly and disabled residents.

At the time of the company’s creation by CEO Joseph Schwartz, Skyline owned just a handful of nursing homes; however, beginning in 2015 the chain began a rapid expansion, and within two years Skyline was responsible for the care of over 7,000 residents living among more than 100 facilities across 11 states. Throughout Skyline’s expansion, several of its nursing homes experienced a range of crises including food shortages, drastic cuts in resources, unpaid bills, staffing issues and cuts, and alarming reports of serious neglect:

  • More than $200,000 in civil fines were levied against Arkansas Skyline facilities for a range of elder abuse issues including neglect, needless falls, and unbathed residents. Maggots were found in the medical equipment of one Skyline Arkansas resident. A resident from another Arkansas facility was left lying on the floor for 45 minutes after a fall in which he severely bruised his face.
  • Certain Massachusetts Skyline facilities faced not only staff reductions, but other cuts were also implemented, including the rationing of disposable briefs, so that residents were often forced to sit in soiled undergarments.
  • Less than two months after Skyline had taken over a particular Tennessee nursing home, a resident whose leg had been recently amputated was not only discovered lying in his own feces but also was found to have maggots and gangrene in his leg. The man died two days later.

The calamitous rise and fall of Skyline Healthcare, called a “debacle” by NBC News, raises a question: how was Skyline permitted to expand at such a clip while actively failing? Even as Schwartz’s homes were being charged with negligence or were falling apart financially in certain states, Skyline was permitted to buy or run nursing homes in others. NBC News called the lack of monitoring by both state and federal authorities a “failure” and noted it was largely taxpayer money, allocated through Medicare and Medicaid, that funded Skyline’s rise.

The article went on to suggest the possible impact the current administration has had on nursing home accountability. The Trump administration has reduced penalties for deficiencies and also cut back on the number of Medicare and Medicaid contracts terminated for problem nursing homes.

At the time of the NBC News article, Schwartz was engaged in over a dozen lawsuits related to elder neglect or allegations of money siphoning. In the meantime, although Schwartz is reportedly transitioning out of the industry, he and his family still have ownership stakes in over 50 American nursing homes.

Finding the Right Nursing Home for Your Loved One

When trying to discover the right place for a beloved elderly family member, it’s important to know what steps to take to best choose a nursing home.  Should you need assistance in choosing a Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home or if you suspect your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at a Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to find out about your legal rights and options.