Therapists and Patients in Nursing Home Rehab Need Your Help

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Susan Sullivan
Susan Sullivan signed this petition

My name is Susan and I’m a proud Occupational Therapist. As an OT, I assess a patient’s ability to walk, get in and out of bed, swallow, go to the bathroom, and sit in a chair. For too long, I have seen greedy rehab companies attempt to interfere in the clinical judgment of physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

Therapists need your help. We are being threatened with write-ups or firings if we refuse to treat patients in a group or provide too much therapy. Many therapists have had benefits cut, are mandated to work 7 days a week, do not receive a pension, and are no longer eligible for 401k matches or holidays. This stress makes it difficult for us to focus on caring for you or your loved one. We are not asking for raises, we are only asking to be given the professional autonomy to work with our patients to decide the best practice of care. 

I’m asking the United States Department of Health and Human Services to address the chronic abuses that happen in these settings.  To make matters worse, the new payment system has not solved any problems. Instead, it has caused significant disruption to our patients’ care. New payment changes that have gone into place mean that rehab companies will no longer be compensated based on the amount of therapy they provide to you or your family members. It is instead based on the diagnosis and the amount of assistance needed.

Rehab companies and skilled nurse facilities that put these practices in place are not only greedy, but in direct contradiction of the federal regulations put in place to protect residents (specifically OBRA 87 and the State Operations Manual). This resulting therapy means less therapy time per patient. Additionally, some rehab companies are mandating group or concurrent treatments rather than 1 on 1 care. 

Autonomous decision making is gone with this new policy. We train for years to become therapists, yet we are no longer allowed to decide treatment plans using evidence-based clinical judgment. I have colleagues who were scheduled to complete 8 evaluations in 8 hours and were told that if they could not do as ordered, there was a line of therapists who could replace them. 

This change is negatively affecting the outcomes and quality of therapy. Therapists and family members of those who are in nursing homes must know how important this is, and I encourage you all to sign in support of them. 

Please sign this petition to send a message to rehab companies and skilled nurse facilities to stop putting profits over patients’ well being.