Federal and state authorities, through health departments, departments of aging, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other relevant agencies are all responsible for enforcing the laws, rules and regulations that govern nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Yet sometimes in the hustle and bustle of investigations, inspections, lengthy reports, sanctions, fines, suspensions, closures, and anything else around and in between, we tend to overlook the more seemingly simple actions that can be taken: criminal.
The abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and any other patients at nursing homes and facilities can often rise to a criminal level, warranting the attention of police and prosecutors. Unfortunate incidents at the Edmonson Center in South Central Kentucky are more recent examples. Edmonson is owned by the company Genesis Healthcare. Three former employees of the nursing home have been criminally charged based on allegations that they physically and mentally abused two women, and furthermore neglected them.
The Recent Case
As reported in the Park City Daily News, the three former employees of the Edmonson Center were hit with multiple criminal charges after being accused of abusing residents at the nursing home. The Kentucky State Police, the state’s Office of Inspector General, and the Adult Protective Services all engaged in an investigation of the nursing home where the alleged abuse and neglect occurred, leading to the criminal charges. The state’s Office of Attorney General as well as the County Sheriff also participated. One employee faces 14 counts each of criminal abuse and knowingly abusing or neglecting an adult, both in the first degree, as well as assault in the fourth degree. That same individual has also been charged with two counts of wanton endangerment in the second degree. A second employee has been hit with four counts of criminal abuse in the first degree and of knowingly abusing or neglecting an adult in the first degree. That individual also faces fourth degree assault charges and two counts of second-degree wanton endangerment. A third employee also has been charged with the same crime sand counts as the second employee.
The aforementioned charges may seem like quite the list, but the crimes as alleged are indeed heinous and terrible. One of the patients abused suffered “black eyes and bruising on her neck, back, arms and face because of negligent and wanton behavior” by her supposed caretakers. In addition to this awful image, the accused former staffers also neglected the patients, failing to give the proper quality of care and to supervise them as required by both law and regulation, as well as their respective duties as nursing home aides.
In addition to the criminal charges, as one might expect at least one of the victims has also filed a separate civil suit in state court seeking damages for the treatment. The lawsuit includes the nursing home itself, as well as the home’s administrator and its owners (Genesis Healthcare and other related ownership entities). This case is obviously an example of the success of a thorough investigation by authorities that gave rise to criminal charges, and now separate civil action. The defendants have pleaded not guilty at their arraignments, and will be back in court during December of this year.
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