Articles Posted in How to choose a home

nursing home closures

Delays by Illinois’s Medicaid Program Creates Ongoing Demise of Non-Profit Nursing Home Operator and Its Former Residents 

It has been nearly 12 months since Pleasant Hill Village in Girard was forced to close citing a lack of Medicaid funds and backlog of the payment reimbursement process as the cause. Last year, the state of Illinois admitted to the multi-million Medicaid eligibility delay that makes it difficult for long term care coverage applications to be processed and payments made to Illinois skilled nursing facility operators. Pleasant Hill Village is now declaring bankruptcy on the disruptions and inability to pay debts and vendors, according to a report by The State Journal-Register.

Here is a recap of the August 16, 2019 news article:

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List of 22 Seriously Under-Performing Nursing Homes in Illinois Released Publicly for First Time 

After an inquiry led by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, overseen by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), shared a list of nearly 400 consistently underperforming nursing homes, 22 of which are located throughout Illinois. Previously CMS did not publicly disclose the names and locations of these SFF identified facilities. These are nursing homes that if not improved or fail to provide resolutions to documented quality problems, can be cut off by Medicare and Medicaid funding and support.

On June 3, 2019, the concerned lawmakers published the list in a public report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, and included all of the homes CMS has deemed to have a “persistent record of poor care” and systemic shortcomings.

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McClean County Nursing Home Residents Transferred After LeRoy Manor Closes

The former long-term care residents of the LeRoy Manor building, located in the central Illinois community of Bloomington-Normal, have moved to other nursing homes throughout Illinois. The private nursing home closed on February 15, 2019, displacing 75 employees and 66 residents. Administrators say about 90 percent of the residents were receiving Medicaid and poor reimbursement by the state was to blame for the closure. The group announced plans to end long-term care services at the home in January of 2019.

Thankfully, regional ombudsman from the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging told local news outlets that residents and their family members felt individual rights and desires were protected during the transition and that staff saw the process out appropriately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and many residents preparing for a move out of their control will find themselves neglected or abused during a time of uncertainty and when changing staffing challenges become present. The move may be tough though for many of the LeRoy Manor residents who were originally from the area and able to stay connected with family and friends on a regular basis. These are relationships important when addressing basic care and medical needs and identifying nursing home neglect and abuse symptoms of loved ones.

choosing a nursing home

Family Members Should Be Attending Resident Council Meetings with These 10 Questions

Nursing home administrators should allow for regular resident council or family council meetings. If they do not, it may be a sign that those residing in the facility may not be receiving the attention needed and care standards are not being met, triggering a higher risk of abuse and neglect. It’s the suggestion of the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti to request information about the dates and times of resident council or family council meetings and plan to attend. These councils are usually organized and managed by the residents or other residents’ families to address concerns and improve the quality of care and life for all residents.

If you’re able to attend a meeting with your loved one or on behalf of them, ask a council member whether it be another resident, care staff or administrator the following 10 questions and take notes:

Late last month a jury was asked to decide a nursing home neglect case related to a resident who died after falling well over a dozen times. As an apparent message of anger to the company which provided such substandard care, the jury returned a utterly astonishing verdict – $1.2 Billion.

A Christian Post story has the details of the case.

The suit was pursued by a man on behalf of his mother. The senior woman stayed at the defendant-nursing home for a period of about three years, from 2004 until her death in 2007. The defendant facility, owned by a large nursing home conglomerate, Trans Healthcare Inc., apparently took little stock in ensuring that the best interests of the residents were actually respected.

The fight to preserve everyone’s ability to make a case in front of a judge or jury continues. In the nursing home context, following elder abuse or neglect, one of the biggest impediments to that right is the use of confusing and unfair mandatory arbitration clauses in nursing home admission contracts.

There have been many legal battles over this issue in recent years. Some of those arguments occur in courtrooms while others are taking place in legislative halls. The recent court battles usually involve more detailed issues about contract principles–who signed, who is bound, and whether or not many factors in the creation of the contract violated fairness principles. In general, state and federal courts have upheld these agreements on occasion but also found that under certain circumstances they can be thrown out.

The fight at the legislative level is usually more sweeping, involving proposed laws that would affect many different cases. For example, this week a new federal law was proposed in Congress known as the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2013. As discussed by the American Association for Justice, the new law seeks to end the abusive practice of so many large corporations, including nursing home conglomerates, that seek to insulate themselves from legal accountability with forced arbitration. As the AAJ summarized, the law is critically needed, because when it comes to arbitration, “The process is secretive, costly and rigged so that corporations cannot be held accountable. By removing access to justice, it grants corporations a license to steal and violate the law.”

Few nursing home administration details are talked about more in relation to ensuring proper care and avoiding neglect and abuse than staffing levels. The research effort was published by OnShift, and is available at the LTL Magazine online here. The main idea of the paper is to stress the importance of “staffing acuity.” It lists five reasons to make a focus on these staffing issues a top priority for long term care management.

The first of those reasons relates to quality of care. The paper pointed to research showing that “acuity drives better outcomes.” The paper notes that this care is a more “clinically driven and individualized approach.”

Important in identifying proper staffing levels is appropriate technologies and monitoring systems. The report note that changes in resident conditions, assessment, or intake rates affect what is an appropriate staffing level. In that way, every day (and every shift) can include the right number of staff members with the right skill set. Our lawyers who work on cases of abuse and neglect in Illinois are very familiar with the problems that come with mismatched staffing levels and skills. The sad truth is that most facilities have a long-way to go before their staffing is appropriate at all times. It is perhaps unsurprising that the problems usually stem to facilities having too few staff members who are not properly trained to ensure all residents receive the care they need. This is unacceptable, and those families affecting are well served by protecting their legal rights when it causes harm.

We often advise local residents to be vigilant when selecting the best home for their loved one. Not all facilities are the same, and choosing one home over another may be the difference between your family member being neglected or not. In addition, regardless of neglect risk, there are other factors that have been shown time and again to affect the quality of life for those in these facilities–such as proximity to friends and family members for frequent visits. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ “Nursing Home Compare” website is perhaps the best starting point for investigations in all long-term care facilities nationwide, including in Illinois and Chicago.

However, it is important to recognize that, at the end of the day, most seniors and adults with disabilties would prefer to age in place, instead of moving into a skilled nursing facility. Fortunately, many qualified at-home care providers exist throughout the area to provide the support needed so that the elderly are able to maintain as much independence as possible while still having extra support to keep them safe and secure.

The same concerns about abuse and neglect exist, however. Even though most at-home care providers are caring, supportive caregivers, there are always exceptions. In fact, considering seniors are inviting these individuals into their homes there is perhaps even more risk of the individual suffering physical, emotional, and financial loss if the at-home caregiver is willing to take advantage of the resident’s vulnerabilities.

Our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys hear from many families who are looking for information on long-term care options for their loved ones. The decision to put a family member or other loved one into a long-term nursing care facility is always a difficult one. However, for many families, the time comes when a loved one’s care needs require more time or attention than a family can reasonably give. When this time comes, it is important to research potential facilities in order to help reduce the risk that your loved one will fall victim to abuse or negligence.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Nursing Home Compare website compares every nursing home in the country that is eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Scores attained on five separate quality measures are used to rank care facilities, including health inspection results, nursing home staff data, quality measures, and fire safety inspection results, all of which are pivotal in determining the quality of safety and care afforded to residents.

Once you arrive at the Medicare website, select ‘Facilities and Doctors’ from the list on the left-hand side of the page. You will then be given a choice of a number of sub-categories: select ‘Compare Nursing Homes.’ The website allows you to search for nursing care facilities by area, as well as directly compare nursing homes to one another, in order to find the right fit. This information is also available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

According to an article from SmartMoney.com, it is very difficult to choose the right nursing home when making the difficult decision to place a family member into long-term care. Many nursing homes will hide some important aspects that are crucial to this decision. The next ten statements are things that you need to investigate because a nursing home will never tell you. The first is that they are careless with the drugs they distribute. Next they will never let you know if they are understaffed. A nursing home will not make you aware of the fact that nursing home theft is on the rise. Cash, jewelry and clothes are oftentimes the most commonly stolen items. In addition to personal theft, institutional theft is also rising. The Department of Health and Human Services reported that the Medicaid Fraud Unit had recovered more than $1.3 billion in fraudulent money. Next, a nursing home will not let you know that they only will do what is in the individualized care plan.

A nursing home will never disclose their cases of nursing home negligence or whether they use physical restraints on their loved ones. Sometimes, nursing homes prep for their report cards and their grade my not reflect their standard of care. When they get fined, they have the possibility of not paying them. Most importantly, a nursing home will not let you know that they can discharge a resident at any moments notice. This has become one of the biggest complaints of nursing home residents and their families. To read more about the nursing home facts, please click the link.

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