After being bought out by private investors in 2002, along with 48 other nursing homes in Tampa, Florida, Habana Health Care Center began to suffer, and so did it’s residents. Within the first few months the number of clinical nurses at the facility had been cut by half in an effort to cut costs by the facility’s new management.  And, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, budget cuts were made for nursing supplies, resident activities and other services.

Meanwhile, the investors and operators of the 49 homes throughout the state were making millions. As if that wasn’t bad enough, over the three years of budget cuts, 15 Habana residents died from what their families feel was negligent care and since have filed suits in state court. In addition to a severely understaffed team of caregivers, reports found malfunctioning fire doors, unhygienic kitchens and a resident using a leg brace that was broken.

Due to the ever-increasing number of Americans needing elder care, nursing home facilities across the country are being bought out by large investors, who can only see dollar signs as our baby-boomers enter through their doors. The more people admitted to each facility should mean increased support and resources for the home. However, more and more this is not the case.

The severely neglected residents of these homes need more attention and care than ever. Federal and state regulators also said in interviews that budget cuts help explain why serious quality-of-care deficiencies — like moldy food and the restraining of residents for long periods or the administration of wrong medications — rose at every large nursing home chain after it was acquired by a private investment group from 2000 to 2006, even as citations declined at many other homes and chains.

While the suit is still in the beginning stages for the 15 families at Habana Health Care Center, similar cases continue to arise across the country. You can read more on the Habana and other facilities’ stories in the New York Times article, At Many Homes, More Profit and Less Nursing.