Articles Posted in Hot Button Issues

Published on:

Nursing homes are required to provide proper care to our elderly loved ones in their twilight years. Sadly, sometimes nursing homes fail to provide the level of care that is expected or that is required. The administrator for a woman’s estate recently filed a lawsuit naming Windmill Nursing Pavilion in South Holland, IL, claiming nursing home negligence. The woman died as a result of the alleged improper care.

Negligent Care

Nursing homes are required to provide proper care to all of their residents. The failure to monitor the activities and meet the needs of a resident could result in an injury or illness. The woman in this instance suffered multiple falls, pressure sores, and dehydration which all reportedly led to her overall decline in health and contributed to her death. Nursing home staff members must take the steps necessary to supervise their patients, regardless of their medical condition.

Published on:

When our loved one enters a nursing home we expect that they will receive the loving care they need to remain healthy. Sadly, that is not always the case. Neglect in nursing homes is quite common and medical mistakes in general are one of the most common causes of death. The family of a man who died in a nursing home has filed a lawsuit against Holland Home in South Holland, IN, and others, for wrongful death. The family is represented by Levin & Perconti.

Medication Errors Are a Cause for Concern

Medication errors are one of the many types of medical mistakes that can happen in nursing homes and hospitals. Nursing homes are responsible for the administration of medications that have been prescribed to their residents. Every medication has specific instructions that must be followed in order to provide proper and accurate dosing and treatment. If a mistake is made it could cause a medical emergency. In this case, an error caused the man to overdose.

Published on:

Earlier this year, we discussed the lawsuit filed by the New Mexico Attorney General in December 2014 against major nursing home chain owner Preferred Care Partners Management Group L.P., which is based out of Texas but operates in ten states throughout the Southwest, Midwest and Southeast United States. The initial filing alleged that nursing homes owned by Preferred Care have failed to meet federal and state regulations, and residents have suffered injuries, malnourishment, dehydration, and poor hygiene as a result of the tremendous negligence of facility aides and staffers. Some patients are even said to have died in these circumstances.

Many of these homes employ dangerously low levels of staff, which is unfortunately a trend in the industry whereby owners cut down on costs of employment, and can thereby increase their profit margins. The downside, obviously, is that residents receive less care than they need with few staff around, many staffers are overtaxed and overworked, and unfortunately some resort to abusive or at least improper activities to deal with patients that may be efficient but can also lead to injury or illness. These problems can also be caused not just by understaffing, but by a lack of training. Whistleblowers from these facilities have reported such low staffing levels that keep them from tending to residents in an adequate and timely manner.
Continue reading

Published on:

Recent news provides another example of the effort of medical providers, such as nursing homes, to defraud the government through healthcare fraud. The agencies are Adonis Inc. and BestMed-Care Services Ltd., headquartered in Dolton, Illinois. The operator of two nursing home agencies in Illinois was arrested and charged with healthcare fraud. The allegations specified that he stole over $5 million “for unnecessary home care services” for nearly four years. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of the fraud.

The charges stem from the agencies paying a marketing company to refer patients to them for ostensibly “free services” only to tell the patients they needed certain care from skilled nurses, and then billing Medicare for providing that unnecessary care. This also included filing falsified nursing assessments for these patients. This most recent case again puts the spotlight on the importance of Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Units. In this case, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force’s investigation led to this arrest. It also highlights the importance of our laws in combating Medicare and Medicaid fraud to protect the system and patients:

False Claims Act
Continue reading

Published on:

There has been a growing movement in favor of in-home or community-based care, in which a patient avoids the bureaucracy and potential neglect that can come with a nursing home stay, and instead receives more personalized and human care in the comfort of their own home. This can often be with the direct care of indirect support from loved ones.

Real World Examples

There was a recent case profiled in The Atlantic that combines the idea of care from one’s family member along with neglect and exploitation that has resulted in a long prison sentence. In California, an 85 year old woman had resided in a nursing home because she could not care for herself even on the most basic level. Eventually her daughter, who was homeless and lived in her car, convinced her to move into an apartment, which the daughter paid for by tapping into her mother’s social security money. The daughter moved in and assumed responsibility for her mother’s care.
Continue reading

Published on:

The False Claims Act is a law that allows for the government to sue those who have allegedly defrauded the federal government. These lawsuits can also be filed by individual citizens who believe they have uncovered evidence of fraud against the federal government, and the United States Department of Justice has the option to get involved and prosecute the matter.

Medicare & Medicaid Fraud in Nursing Homes

In the healthcare industry, there are often many examples of fraud in the context of Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid are of course programs administered by both federal and state governments, largely with federal dollars. In exchange for accepting money for either program, states and healthcare providers must follow certain rules and regulations as to how they conduct themselves and do business. If all goes well, those providers can then submit for reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. However, many providers unfortunately will overbill these programs in order to get back more money, which is pure and simple a fraud perpetrated on the government. Many states have their own versions of the False Claims Act, and can also be the target of fraudulent activity.
Continue reading

Published on:

Nursing home company misconduct takes various forms. Most notably,when corners are cut and employees act inappropriately then individual residents can be harmed. Nursing home neglect and abuse is an endemic problem that causes countless injuries and deaths each year.

But in recent years more and more attention has also been drawn to administration and business tactics used by companies that may violate the law. This form of misconduct often involves companies bilking the taxpayer via Medicare or Medicaid. A large portion of long-term care payments nationwide are ultimately drawn from these public programs. This means that everyone loses when long-term care companies violate rules in order to increase their billing unnecessarily. Many different state and federal rules are in place which dictate the parameters by which companies can bill these programs for provided services.

Misuse of Hospice Care

Published on:

We are in the heart of tax season, with less than a month left before the April 15th filing deadline. As you sort through your personal paperwork your head may spin while trying to understand complex rules regarding deductions, tax rates, and more. Financial matters are complex. That is exactly why professionals are involved in many transactions, because it is difficult for regular community members to figure it out on their own.

Unfortunately, it is for the very same reasons that senior financial exploitation is such a common problem. Anyone is at risk of having their money taken in various scheme, but seniors have unique vulnerabilities that make them prime targets for abuse.

Considering finances are on the mind of many Chicagoans this season, it is a perfect time to offer some reminders about the prevalence of elder financial exploitation and the signs that may indicate a senior in your life is affected.

Published on:

The total number of elderly Illinois residents rises on a daily basis. Coinciding with the demographic change is a rise in instances of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Cognitive decline in seniors is a striking problem. One of the main reasons that local families help their loved ones into nursing homes is specifically because of these issues which make it impossible for the senior to live on their own.

Understanding that these dementia issues are on the rise, it is incumbent upon long-term care facilities to take steps to provide the absolute best memory care possible to this community. It is well known that a one size fits all approach to this treatment is unacceptable. Each resident has different needs, struggles, vulnerabilities, and limitations. It is critical for caregivers to provide individualized care both to prevent harm as well as maximize the senior’s well-being.

New Dementia Care Program

Published on:

Pressures sores remain one of the single clearest signs of Chicago nursing home neglect. Far too often family members of seniors are horrified to discover that their loved ones developed serious open skin breakdowns on their body as a result of constant pressure on certain high-risk areas including the sacrum, lower back, heels, and several other locations.

Make no mistake: pressure sores are preventable. With proper caregiving, steps can be taken to ensure that the skin remains free of too much pressure, clean, and healthy. Yet, far too often–particularly at the worse performing facilities–caregivers do not provide nearly enough support to prevent the development of bed sores.

For one thing, the most vulnerable residents usually need to be repositioned in bed every two hours to ensure that no single area of the body has too much pressure from the mattress for an extended period of time. But many understaffed facilities do not abide by these re-positioning and turning requirements. In addition, many seniors do not receive adequate nutrition and hydration, which makes them more susceptible to skin breakdowns.