$17,700,000

Brain injury due to nursing staff negligence

$14,000,000

Ignored x-ray results delaying diagnosis of lung cancer

$12,000,000

Failure to diagnosis causes wrongful death

$10,000,000

Truck ran over five year boy

$7,620,000

HMO doctor ignored mother's complaints resulting in death

$7,000,000

Vietnam veteran PTSD wrongful death

Happy Nursing Home Resident

Illinois Lawmaker Introduces Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act

On December 5, 2019, U.S. Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act. This legislation would prohibit long-term care facilities from requiring or soliciting residents to enter into pre-dispute, mandatory, binding arbitration agreements. The Obama administration banned forced arbitration by nursing homes in 2016, but the Medicare and Medicaid Division stripped the rights from residents on July 16, 2019, by overturning the ban.

Long-term care residents should never be forced, pressured, threatened, or have it suggested they waive their right to court proceedings before a dispute even arises. And at Levin & Perconti, we applaud these lawmakers, especially Illinois Congresswoman Schakowsky, in seeking ways to reintroduce forced arbitration protections that support the legal rights and well-being of elderly Americans. These are our most vulnerable citizens who are being impacted by the nation’s abuse and neglect epidemic running ramped in U.S. nursing homes each day. Residents deserve their day in court should they become injured, ill, or fatally harmed due to someone else’s negligence.

Empty Wheelchair

Nursing Home Resident Evictions Continue Due to Medicaid Funding

Nationally, long-term care ombudsmen, who advocate for elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, received 10,610 complaints about discharges and transfers in 2017, up from 9,192 in 2015. Many of these complaints arise when a facility asks or pressures a resident to leave with “no due process rights, no notice” even though an advanced notice is required.

We agree with the importance of the recent news report by NBC launched over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, that some nursing home facilities illegally evict residents when their Medicaid funding runs short and replace them with short-stay Medicare residents. Still, unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities that discharge residents improperly isn’t anything new to us at Levin & Perconti. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates, “as many as one-third of all residents in long-term care facilities are involuntarily discharged.” We have been sharing concerns and representing families on this issue for some time.

Meet Attorney Michael Bonamarte

Levin & Perconti Partner Carries on Public Service Legacy

Hailing from Highland Park, personal injury attorney Michael F. Bonamarte IV continues the family legacy of serving the public and those in need.

Bonamarte’s father, Michael III, practiced with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office before setting up his practice, Law Offices of Michael F. Bonamarte, and represented clients in probate transactions. Michael F. Bonamarte Jr. was the chief of the Highland Park Police for nearly 40 years and headed both the police and fire departments during his final four years. And Michael F. Bonamarte Sr., born in 1909, was a fingerprint expert with the Highland Park Police.

Levin Perconti - Nursing Homes Over the Holidays

Your Holiday Nursing Home Visit Could Be Lifesaving

During the busy holiday season, an already understaffed nursing home care team becomes even more limited, leaving many needs of nursing home residents to go unmet. For the workers who are on staff, they become stressed and easily overwhelmed, creating a rise in the number of incidences of neglect and abuse of residents. This season, we encourage the family and friends of those residing in skilled nursing facilities to make it a priority to visit frequently and unexpectedly check-in on those responsible for providing care. Even a weekly call or stop during this time may be enough to ensure the quality in the services you expect for your mother, father, sister or grandparent is being met.

Unfortunately, even substandard care is sometimes coated, and dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms are hard first to recognize. During your visits, be sure to look for these troublesome signs of maltreatment provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center. Be sure to report any findings or concerns you have immediately.

Levin Perconti - Questions to ask nursing homes

Updated Nursing Home Visit Checklist Can Help Prevent Neglect & Abuse

If your family is planning a tour of an Illinois nursing home facility, or you have a loved one who is currently a nursing home resident, and you are checking-in, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released an updated checklist to help identify any care concerns or suspicions of neglect and abuse of residents. Here are some key data points to consider discussing with administrators and care staff during your next visit.

Facility Type

Levin Perconti - Alzheimer's and Wondering

Winter Weather Heightens Wandering & Elopement Risks for Dementia Residents

The Illinois Alzheimer’s Association says wandering – in extreme circumstances also called eloping – represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in 6 out of 10 people living with Alzheimer’s across the state. And cold weather events and drops in temperatures during the winter months pose new dangers to nursing home residents who have the likelihood to move about their environment without regard to their safety.

Residents battling Alzheimer’s must be cared for in alternative ways than residents who do not present a known threat to wander. Care workers must:

Levin Perconti - horrified senior citizens

Government Site Has New Way of Warning Families of Nursing Home Mistreatment and Neglect

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti keep close eyes on how the federal government is using Nursing Home Compare, a website used by the public to search and compare facilities nationwide. In October, it was announced by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that the site has started flagging nursing homes with a history of resident mistreatment.

In a special report published by The Washington Post on November 19, 2019, the new flagging system which uses a red circle with a white hand inside, showcases as many as one in 20 elder-care facilities across the U.S. responsible for resident abuse or neglect. The data comes from government investigators’ reports which identified evidence related to the harm or potential harm of a resident.

Proper Care

Recent Inspection Report Shows Grove of Evanston Still Underperforming

Last year, The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) slapped the Grove of Evanston, 500 Asbury St., with a $25,000 fine for a Type A violation where “there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result, or has resulted.” According to news sources and IDPH officials, the nursing home violated the terms of its license when it failed to assess a resident and notify a doctor of his declining condition. IDPH said the failure resulted in the resident being sent to a local hospital where he died less than 24 hours later.

Public health officials reviewed the resident’s records and recently released the report findings to show:

In the November 12 post, “No ‘Costs’ Uncovered: The Appellate Court’s Expansive Redefinition of ‘Costs,” Tara Kuchar asserts that in Grauer v. Clare Oaks, et al, 2019 IL App (1st) 180835, the prevailing argument over what constitutes a “cost” under the fee-shifting provision of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is “flawed” because it is overly broad.

We strongly disagree. The effectiveness of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act hinges on the legislation’s directive that nursing homes found to violate a resident’s rights “shall pay the actual damages and costs and attorney’s fees” to the plaintiff when he or she prevails in court. This provision frees residents from financial concerns when making the decision to bring a case against a powerful institution that has done them harm. And it ensures their access to legal representation. An accurate interpretation of the cost-shifting provision is crucial to implementing the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act as legislators intended.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act empowers citizens to hire private attorneys who serve the attorney general-like function of policing nursing homes that provide substandard care. It is not unusual for a nursing home case to cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to prosecute through completion. The state lacks the resources to police these homes, and private citizens would be unwilling and unable to do so without private attorneys who know they can recoup these costs if they are successful.

Nurse Yelling at Patient

Report Proves Illinois Could Do Better at Investigating Nursing Home Complaints

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report in 2017 that showed several states, including Illinois, were missing the opportunity to lead a timely investigation of the most pressing nursing home complaints. These complaints included neglectful occurrences such as residents being left to sit in their urine and feces for hours, residents being admitted to the hospital because of preventable infections, and inappropriate social media posts by nursing home employees.

According to the OIG, these events will typically fall into two types of serious complaint categories that must be addressed within a specified timeframe.

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