CEO of nursing home company sentenced to prison for fraud

A CEO of a Missouri company that runs nursing homes has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for federal fraud charges related to unhealthy conditions at the nursing homes. The 59 year-old was also fined a total of $750,000. The nursing home executives collected millions of dollars and ordered cost cuts even though residents suffered from several instances of nursing home abuse and neglect, including dehydration, malnutrition, bed sores, and unsanitary conditions.

For the full article.

Jury awards $750,000 in nursing home rape case

Four years ago, a 77 year-old female nursing home resident was sleeping when she was sexually assaulted by an 83 year-old male resident. The nursing home resident offender had been arrested 58 times in his past and convicted twice of sex crimes. The victim’s daughter sued the nursing home for nursing home negligence in not informing residents about the offender’s past. The jury agreed that the nursing home was negligent awarding $750,000.

For the full article.

California senior care facility accused of elder abuse

A nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit recently filed alleges that a California nursing home failed to provide adequate care for an 81 year-old resident during the three years that she lived there, causing her to suffer multiple falls, bed sores and malnutrition. In March of last year, this same nursing home settled a lawsuit brought by the state attorney general that cited 160 incidents of substandard care documented over a five year period.

For the full article.

Nursing home worker pleads guilty to financially exploiting residents

A California night shift nursing home employee has pled guilty to residential burglary and theft from an elder. The nursing home abuse centered about the 43 year-old employee unlawfully and unethically taking credit cards from elderly residents. The former employee faces up to two years in prison.

For the full article.

Nursing home faces closure for accusations of nursing home neglect

A New Hampshire nursing home has been put on notice with state health inspectors giving the facility six months to comply with regulations or risk being shut down. The warning comes following a routine state nursing home abuse survey conducted last month where the government found the staff failed to attempt CPR on a dying patient.

For the full article.

Take action: Oppose the Bush Administration’s proposed budget cuts in long term care

The Bush Administration’s FY 2008 budget proposal asks Congress to cut $1 million from the long term care omsbudsman program and $25 billion from Medicaid. Other steep cuts would come in federal contributions to the administrative costs of nursing home survey and certification programs, Quality Improvement Organizations, and state Medicaid fraud control units.

In a statement, NCCNHR stated that even with regular payment increases, registered nursing hours have been declining in Medicare-funded nursing homes, and reducing future funding increases while slashing public oversight and accountability would almost certainly lead to fewer staff and more nursing home abuse and neglect. The programs targeted in the budget cuts are the systems that protect residents. For example, ombudsmen currently are handling about 300,000 complaints per year and their caseload is expanding.

Call your Senators and Representatives at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to oppose the President’s budget proposal. The cuts will hurt nursing home residents.

For more information on the proposed cuts.

Top Ten Things Every Lawyer Should Know Seminar - March 31, 2007

The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Education Fund is sponsoring a seminar at the Hilton Suites Chicago on March 31, 2007 entitled "Top Ten Things Every Lawyer Should Know." Topics include experts, pre-trial litigation, medical malpractice lawsuits, and jury consultants. Steven M. Levin, of Levin & Perconti, will be presenting on skills and strategies in depositions.

To register, call 217-789-0810.
For more information, call 800-252-8501.

Tips for finding a nursing home fast

In choosing a nursing home for their loved ones, people are often rushed and do not have the time to research whether nursing homes are respected or infamous for nursing home abuse and neglect. A recent Florida article gave readers tips for finding a nursing home while under a time crunch:

1. Know your rights. If a hospital is forcing you to discharge your loved one, you have appeal rights under Medicare that can extend your relative’s stay by two days. Call 1-800-633-4227 for more information.
2. Call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. They will connect you with your local agency on aging, which can give you names and locations of nursing homes.
3. Search online. Consumer Reports recently completed an investigation of nursing homes available online.
4. Compare online. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers complete surveys of nursing homes online.
5. Check Illinois nursing home state survey reports. When visiting a nursing home, ask for their state inspection survey.

For the full article.

Nursing home CNA pleads no contest to three counts of sexual battery on nursing home resident

A former certified nursing assistant accused of fondling an elderly woman in a nursing home has pleaded no contest to three counts of sexual battery. The nursing home sexual abuse occurred on multiple occasions in 2004 and 2005. The victim was 90 years-old, suffering from severe dementia, and was unable to consent.

For the full article.

Former nursing home operator starts prison sentence

Last week, a jury convicted a Pennsylvania nursing home operator of several charges of nursing home abuse and neglect, including involuntary manslaughter. The involuntary manslaughter stemmed from the October 2001 death of an 88 year-old resident who wandered outside of her nursing home residence on a cold night. The 88 year-old victim died after being trapped outside in the cold. The nursing home operator began starting her five year sentence at a West Virginia federal prison for health care fraud. Once that is complete, she will serve up to three and a half years in state prison.

For the full article.

California nursing home inspections backlog decreasing

A recent article blames staffing shortages for the backlog of inspections and failure by California state officials to investigate their nursing home complaints. This problem became so severe that the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform along with the daughters of two nursing home abuse and neglect victims successfully sued the state in an effort to force reform. To meet the mandate, Gov. Schwarzenegger committed $20 million to hire 141 new nursing home surveyors. To date, 99 percent of the backlog has been cleared.

For the full article.

Midwest nursing home resident freezes to death from nursing home neglect

Indiana authorities stated that a nursing home resident froze to death after wandering away unnoticed from a nursing home. The 76 year-old resident suffered from Alzheimer’s and was found dead outside a locked door. The nursing home neglect victim had lived in the nursing home’s Alzheimer’s unit since May 2003.

For the full article.

Nursing home employee charged with stealing drugs from residents

A New York nurse has been charged with nursing home abuse in stealing more than 1,000 hydrocodone pills from the facility where she had worked for over a year. The 38 year-old employee also faces charges of tampering with business records, a felony, and petty larceny. The nursing home began an investigation into the nursing home abuse when they found that they did not have enough medication on hand to fill a nursing home resident’s prescription.

For the full article.

Acupressure may relieve dementia residents’ aggressive behavior

A small study recently suggested that the ancient practice of acupressure may be able to calm the aggressive behavior that often accompanies dementia. This is one of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, expressed in a number of ways. For example, some nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s yell or physically attack others. The study showed that the acupressure eased patients’ agitation far better than talking and results occurred immediately.

For the full article.

Long term care for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will be costly

A Harvard researcher recently concluded that caring for U.S. veterans returning from the Middle East could cost $662 billion over 40 years. The researcher also said that the Bush administration is not adequately prepared to pay for the medical care and disability benefits of returning veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has said that there are 16 “non-mortally wounded” soldiers per battlefield death, in comparison to the 2.6 wounded per death in Vietnam.

For the full article.

Illinois nursing home ordered to begin paying $800,000

An Illinois county wanted assurance that an Illinois nursing home would be accountable for the $800,000+ loan. The county board chairman said that the situation will be monitored closely and the nursing home will begin paying the county back next month.

For the full article.

Fire safety: more product recalls

1. Electric Oil Lamps: Hong Teng Trading Inc. is voluntarily recalling about 3,900 Electric Oil Lamps because the power court is not correctly secured. Additionally, the switch housing is not flame retardant. As a result of these issues, the lamps pose a fire hazard. For more information.

2. Dishwashers: Maytag is voluntarily recalling about 2.3 million Maytag and Jenn-Air brand dishwashers. Liquid can leak and come into contact with the dishwasher’s internal wiring which can short-circuit and ignite, posing a fire hazard. For more information.

3. Easy-Bake Ovens: Easy-Bake, a division of Hasbro, Inc. is voluntarily recalling about 985,000 Easy-Bake Ovens. Young children can insert their hands into the oven’s opening, posing an entrapment and burn hazard. For more information.

4. Curling irons: Conair Corp. is voluntarily recalling about 322,000 Curling Irons. The handle of the curling iron can come apart exposing its line cord, posing a shock or electrocution hazard to consumers. For more information.

Breast cancer treatment found to boost leukemia risk

As a recent entry pointed out, drugs affect senior citizens differently than other age groups. A new study recently found that older breast cancer patients who take certain drugs to boost their immune systems during chemo treatment double their risk of developing leukemia later on. Women over 65 years who took growth factors had a 2% chance of being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

For the full article.

Chamber of Commerce President faces conflict-of-interest investigation

As president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he has long been “hard” on federal regulation, but now he faces it personally. For 12 years, he has been a board member of Sunrise Senior Living, a living facility designed for Senior Citizens. Sunrise Senior Living is a publicly traded company being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Sunrise co-founder started as the Chamber of Commerce president’s driver while still in college and later became a Chamber speechwriter. Recently, the SEC began in inquiry into an allegation that this president and other insiders may have improperly cashed $32 million in stock options before Sunrise in May announced an accounting problem that caused its stock to drop.

For the full article.

Nursing home murder victim’s roommate needed psych evaluation

About 36 hours prior to the death of a New Orleans 95 year-old nursing home resident, staff members decided to seek a psychiatric evaluation of her 71 year-old roommate. Unfortunately, the staff was unable to contact her doctor and the 71 year-old later bludgeoned the 95 year-old to death with a metal drawer handle. The nursing home’s failure to get in touch with a doctor is one of several nursing home abuse and neglect deficiencies cited by the Department of Health and Hospitals in a recent report.

The state’s report on the nursing home expresses concern that more attention was not paid to the 71 year-old’s psychiatric need. Her diagnoses included major depression, dementia, and hypertension. Moreover, she had punched another resident just three days prior to the murder. Social workers repeatedly noted the 71 year-old resident’s anger and social difficulties, stating that she had persistent anger and was socially inappropriate with disruptive behavior.

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Nursing home employee sexually assaults elderly woman

Early Sunday morning, an 88 year-old resident at a Pennsylvania nursing home fell victim to nursing home sexual abuse. Police confirmed that an employee sexually assaulted the 88 year-old in her room; that employee has been arrested.

For the full article.

Son fails to forward $37,000 in income to dad’s nursing home

The father entered a nursing home in February of 2001 with his son acting as attorney-in-fact. The father’s social security income was $750 and his pension was approximately $1,100 per month. During the summer of 2001, the son applied for Medicaid on his father’s behalf and his father was deemed eligible. Soon, the son began depositing his father’s pension and social security checks into a joint account he held with his dad. He made two payments to the nursing home in September and October of 2001, but failed to pay thereafter. A New Hampshire court has remanded the case, stating that a rational jury could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the son had misappropriated the funds for his own use.

For the Full Case Opinion.

Inability to identify familiar odors may be a sign of early Alzheimer’s

More news on early detection of Alzheimer’s: Recently, a study showed promising results that a blood test may in the future be able to diagnose the disease. Now, a recent article published in the Journal of Neurology indicates that an inability to correctly identify familiar odors may be an early indication of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A Chicago doctor says that difficulty identifying odors seems to be related to the buildup of tangles in the brain that appear early in the development of the disease.

For the full article.

Does prescription drug coverage make seniors healthier?

The Medicare Modernization Act was recently established with the goal of providing limited drug coverage to the elderly. In actuality, there is little evidence that drug coverage affects health. A recent Current Awareness in Aging Research Report showed that prescription drug coverage, particularly public coverage, insignificantly increased the use of prescription drugs, but had no discernable effect on hospital admissions or health.

For the full report.

AARP study examines health insurance coverage and costs at older ages

Health care and nursing home care costs are on the rise for senior citizens. A new AARP Public Policy institute commission report looked into the impact of employer cuts in retiree health benefit programs on older Americans. The report examines the availability and costs of health insurance coverage at older ages. Because insurance premiums have soared for older Americans in recent years, the share of older people facing catastrophic health care costs has increased.

For the full report.

Fire safety: more product recalls

1. Sally Foster, Inc. has voluntarily recalled about 46,800 sets of Tea Lights sold with Votive Candle Holders. The tea light candles have a clear, plastic shell that can melt or ignite, posing a fire hazard to consumers. For more information.
2. Old Williamsburgh Candle Corp has voluntarily recalled about 3.7 million Mason Jar Candles. The wick can move from the center to the sides causing the glass to overheat and possibly crack or shatter, posing a burn hazard to consumers. For more information.

Study links antidepressant to fractures in Senior Citizens

Seniors are at risk for medication-related problems and a Canadian study recently affirmed that. A recently released study reported that daily use of a common antidepressant can potentially double the risk of fracture in people older than 50. In a randomly selected study controlled for other variables, daily users of antidepressants were 2.1 times more likely to suffer fractures than those who did not.

For the full article.