Genesis Healthcare, one of the largest nursing home groups in the country, is having a bad year. This summer, the chain was ordered to pay $54 million to 5 whistleblowers who exposed fraudulent billing for keeping and treating patients who did not require hospice care.
Adding to the nursing home chain’s problems are criminal charges against a resident, with a concurrent civil case against the chain itself. In October of this year, 74 year old Francis Kinsey, a resident of Coventry Center Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Rhode Island, was arrested for sexually assaulting an 80 year old female resident. An employee witnessed the assault and immediately notified authorities. After the resident’s arrest, it was discovered that he had a 5 year old pending charge for sexual molestation and was currently out on bail. That case had not been furthered because his heath prevented further legal action. The family of the 80 year old resident who was sexually assaulted has sued Coventry Center and Genesis Healthcare, arguing that a resident with a pending criminal charges for a sexual offense should not be able to live freely alongside others, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.
On November 16th, a Rhode Island judge declared Kinsey not fit to stand trial for the recent sexual assault. Mr. Kinsey’s health has now prevented him from facing charges on two sexual offenses for which he has been formally charged by police.
Background Checks in Illinois Nursing Homes
In Illinois, nursing homes are required by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act to conduct background checks on every resident and employee. The Catch-22 is that having a criminal conviction does not lead to an automatic denial of admittance as a resident. The rule, while good-intentioned, doesn’t guarantee resident safety. Instead, nursing homes with an ‘Identified Offender’ must work with state police and a forensic psychologist who will review all criminal records and determine what security and safety measures should be implemented to protect the offender from themselves, as well as to protect fellow residents. If a resident is a registered sex offender or has been convicted of a sexual offense, the resident is required to have a private room.
A 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation found that only 1 in 3 nursing home residents with a conviction for a sexual offense were found in the sex offender database. In their investigative report, the Tribune speculated that the reason many sex offenders aren’t tracked is that they simply aren’t required by law to register with police if the conviction is more than 10 years old. Regardless of whether or not the resident is registered with state police, the nursing home still should have a plan in place to monitor the behavior of a resident with a past sexual conviction.
If someone you love has been sexually assaulted by an employee or fellow resident of a nursing home, you should report the crime to authorities and seek the counsel of nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Nursing homes have an obligation to protect residents from offenders. A background check should prevent the employment of anyone with a past conviction, as well as prevent assault by a fellow resident with a checkered past. However, we’ve seen numerous cases where nursing homes have shown poor judgment in hiring and admittance practices of residents. If you suspect this is the case, please contact us for a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys.
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