Articles Posted in Illinois Nursing Homes Abuse

Nationally Respected Attorneys

Three Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases That Gained National Attention in 2019

Levin & Perconti is a nationally renowned law firm concentrating in all types of nursing home abuse and neglect claims as well as personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death lawsuits. The firm’s founding partners, Steve Levin and John Perconti were among the first nursing home lawyers in Illinois and are highly regarded among their peers and adversaries for their outstanding work on behalf of victims of abuse and neglect.

Today, the Chicago based firm stands behind three decades of winning experience in defending residents who have had their rights violated and become injured while under the care of others. This is a brief review of three nursing home abuse and neglect cases represented by Levin & Perconti lawyers that made national and local news headlines in 2019.

Patient and Nurse Struggling

Good and Bad Nursing Homes Struggle with These 6 Issues

Certified skilled nursing facilities in Illinois are required to provide individualized care for residents. That is about 1,300 nursing homes responsible, both for-profit or not-for-profit, set to comply with about 1,500 state and federal standards. Yet violations related to abuse, safety and neglect as outlined by the Nursing Home Care Act occur each day, many undocumented or resolved. And unfortunately, trends in failing to comply can occur at both good and bad facilities.

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti continue to identify these six common issues leading to nursing home abuse and neglect cited at facilities located throughout Illinois.

Nursing Home Lawsuit

History of Attorney’s Fees Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

In the Winter 2020 edition of Trial Journal magazine, Levin & Perconti partners Margaret P. Battersby Black and Michael F. Bonamarte IV shared their review of how the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides for attorney’s fees and costs to successful litigants. In the article, the attorneys discuss the uncertainty many plaintiff’s attorneys have about the calculation of fees and costs allowed when taking on nursing home cases. This ambiguity has existed since Berlak v. Villa Scalabrini Home for the Aging, Inc., one of the first cases to interpret the statutory attorney’s fees provision of the Act, finding them mandatory.

  • The requirement that the licensee pay the prevailing resident’s attorney’s fees is mandatory as evidenced by the legislature’s use of the word “shall” in the statute. Ordinarily, the use of the word “shall” in a statute is indicative of a mandatory legislative intent.

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Levin & Perconti Partner Serving as Chair of The American Association for Justice’s Nursing Home Litigation Group

Michael F. Bonamarte IV, a partner at Levin & Perconti has committed to supporting The American Association for Justice’s Nursing Home Litigation Group as the 2019-2020 term Chairman. Bonamarte, who will collaborate alongside many other knowledgeable members, will be leading a crucial role in advocating for safety and accountability in nursing home facilities.

“We provide our members — who represent our nation’s seniors and their families — with education on developments in case law and regulation and foster collaboration so that members can share knowledge and strategies,” Bonamarte recently told the Chicago Law Bulletin. “The group enables lawyers to stand up for the most vulnerable people in our society. It is my honor to take the reins as chair for the 2019-2020 term and I look forward to continuing the group’s work in various areas.”

drug abuse

7 Antipsychotic Drugs Used and Abused by Illinois Nursing Homes

Antipsychotic drugs are sometimes given to patients living in nursing homes to calm their behaviors. But some of the most sensitive nursing home patients may be receiving antipsychotic drugs, even though there is no diagnosis of psychosis. For decades, this has been a growing problem for U.S. nursing homes and staff continue to wrongfully use the powerful medications in hopes to make their jobs easier. The misuse of these dangerous drugs is also known as a chemical restraint.

These are seven of the most widely used antipsychotic drugs abused by Illinois nursing homes today.

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.

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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 - 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.

Poor Nursing Home Care

71 Illinois Nursing Homes Named in Third Quarter Violation Report

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its Third Quarter Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2019. IDPH is responsible for ensuring nursing homes comply fully with mandatory state regulations. This report dates July 2019 thru September 2019. It highlights 71 Illinois facilities cited for various violations of the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

Violations, no matter how small in detail, should be taken seriously, especially since history proves a majority of these facilities will become repeat and more serious offenders. Besides, several of those cited this quarter are large facilities that choose to overwork, underpay, and overburden staff. Leaving these workers with too little of resources and too many residents to care for is a clear sign that abuse and neglect of residents is present.

nursing home danger sign

How to Find Out If Your Parent’s Nursing Home Has a History of Abuse or Neglect?

Choosing a long-term care facility for your parent can feel completely overwhelming and the decision-making process is often stressful on the entire family. Thankfully, beginning October 23, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is making a much-needed change to how families can be better informed of Illinois nursing homes that have been cited for violations related to abuse, neglect and exploitation. The Nursing Home Compare tool will now include a bright red “abuse icon” next to these troublesome homes.

If you’ve already got a particular facility in mind, or have a loved one who is currently a nursing home resident, you can also use the medicare.gov site to look more closely at your choice or to check into any concerns or suspicions.

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