Vulnerable adults in South Carolina need more help

Outside in

Nursing home abuse is a growing epidemic within the country. And in South Carolina, it seems to be growing by the day. In 2016, 7,100 vulnerable adults suffered some type of abuse, a number that increased by an astounding 140 percent since 2010.

South Carolina’s Adult Protective Services is trying to help as many of these people as they can, finding them beds or homes when they no longer have one of their own. To do it however, they need more funding. It was with that knowledge that they have recently placed an appropriations request within the Legislature.

That appropriations request is asking the government to increase the state funds for vulnerable adults by $2 million. Currently their budget is $3 million and that amount is simply not enough. Considering that Child Protective Services is currently funded at $72 million, it is easy to see how severely vulnerable adults within the state are being overlooked.

It is not just the budget either. Looking at how the state treats children without a proper home compared to how the state treats vulnerable adults in the same situation, the differences are glaring.

“When a child can no longer remain in their own home, they are placed into a foster home,” says Summerville personal injury attorney Lad Howell of Howell & Christmas. “But vulnerable adults have no place to go.”

And that is all too true. Often, they end up in the emergency room. Greenville Memorial Hospital alone accepted approximately 250 vulnerable adults in 2017. Once reaching the hospital, vulnerable adults stayed in the emergency department for a collective 548 days. Average stays were two to three days for each adult, but some remained as long as 45 days.


The problem is that these adults are not sick. They simply have no other place to go. So, until a nursing home or another facility could admit them, their only choice is to remain in the emergency room. This is damaging to vulnerable adults because they are not getting the proper therapy they need including physical therapy and speech therapy. But it is also detrimental to the communities those hospitals serve.


While doctors and nurses are busy trying to find a placement for each vulnerable adult, they could be seeing thousands of patients. Not to mention that it is also costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.


Taxpayers are also paying for pricey Medicaid beds in nursing homes when there is a vulnerable adult that needs nursing home services but has no way of paying for it themselves – a problem that many adults face every day in South Carolina.


But the appropriation bill, if passed, could change all that. In addition to the 85 caseworkers Adult Protective Services currently has, the funds being asked for could allow them to hire and train 33 more. It would also open up 15 emergency room beds that would give vulnerable adults a place to stay temporarily until another solution could be found.


And while there would still be waiting lists and a need for emergency rooms, a solution is needed. The passing of this appropriation bill would be a step in the right direction for vulnerable adults that deserve proper care just like anyone else.

What does South Carolina’s reduction in the loss cost multiplier mean?

Workers Comp At Hospitality Health ER

South Carolina workers’ compensation laws can be confusing and challenging for all individuals that participate in them, including workers and employers. Employers are responsible for buying workers compensation insurance coverage, and insurance companies are responsible for providing this coverage.

“Like other types of insurance, workers’ compensation insurance is regulated by the South Carolina Department of Insurance, which is responsible for ensuring that the coverage being provided by companies will protect workers and employers, and for ensuring that premiums charged for this coverage are reasonable,” said Gary Christmas, a South Carolina Worker’s Compensation attorney with the law firm of Howell and Christmas Injury Lawyers in North Charleston, SC. “The Department of Insurance requires that insurers submit their proposed rate increases prior to going into effect, allowing them an opportunity to review and approve.”

The process that goes into the calculation of premiums is complex, but one of the most important factors is what is called the “loss cost multiplier.” This is a number that is based on the insurance company’s anticipated payout for actual claims and does not include overhead or profit. The number is based either on historical payouts or expected future payouts based on trends in the industry.

Putting that into context: if an insurance company believes that they will need to pay out more in claims due to a trend of cases favorable to workers, they will ask for an increase in the loss cost multiplier. If they believe they will have to pay less, they may ask for a decrease in that multiplier.

South Carolina’s Department of Insurance (SCDOI) received a request from the National Council on Compensation Insurance – the industry group that requests increases or decreases on behalf of its insurers – to have all insurers reduce their loss cost multiplier by an average of seven percent. The SCDOI then required all insurers that operate in the state to provide updated premium information based on this decrease.

What does this mean for employers? Reduced costs for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. What does this mean for employees? It could mean nothing, or it could mean that insurance companies think that the state of the law is such that it will not have to pay out nearly as much this year in claims. That could be because of improved workplace environments and requirements, a larger desire to fight claims remains to be seen, or an unforeseen circumstance.

Mittens MIA at abortion debate

It’s no surprise that the chickenshit Republican frontrunner, who has waffled on the abortion issue — as he has on most other issues — decided to duck this event:

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney was conspicuous by his absence evening at a debate organized by an anti-abortion group in South Carolina.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Texas Governor Rick Perry, ultraconservative former
Senator Rick Santorum and Texas Representative Ron Paul all responded to the invitation to speak at Personhood USA’s Presidential Pro-Life Forum ahead of Saturday’s key primary vote.

All four of the candidates repeated their opposition to abortion, a subject on which Romney’s position has varied over the years.

The president of Personhood USA, Keith Mason, said Romney was invited to the forum at a Greenville hotel in front of an audience of several hundred people.

“Why not Romney,” Mason asked. “He was invited but he had a conflict and was not able to make it. He also had a conflict in Iowa…”

We feel your Bain, Mittens

Mitt Romney actually managed to out-slime Newt Gingrich in campaign ads leading up to the Iowa primary, but Newt is hitting back with a 27-minute film, “When Romney Comes to Town,” that convincingly portrays Mittens as the cold-blooded jobs-killer he was as CEO at Bain Capital:

From Raw Story:

Produced by a former top Romney strategist, the film focuses on people turned out of their jobs at four of the many companies Bain essentially looted, tapping into the popular discontentment with Wall Street to label Romney a “corporate raider.”

The companies — laundry equipment maker UniMac, electronics maker DDI, toy store chain KayBee Toys and office supplier AmPad — were all purchased by Bain [Capital] and liquidated, “killing jobs for big financial rewards,” the film explains.

“They could care less about us, the way I see it,” one of the film’s subjects explains. “Who am I? Mitt Romney and them guys, they don’t care about who I am.”

The pro-Gingrich PAC Winning Our Future placed a top-dollar bid on the 27-minute film after pro-Romney PACs essentially destroyed Gingrich’s chances in Iowa with a flood of negative advertising that blanketed the airwaves.

Footnote: You can watch the whole film on YouTube.