Articles Posted in Hot Button Issues

healthcare fraud

Miami-Dade Nursing Home Owner Convicted in Largest U.S. Healthcare Fraud Scheme

Just last week, a 12-person jury deliberated for four days before finding Philip Esformes, a 50-year-old entrepreneur and owner of a network of 16 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida, guilty on 20 out of 26 charges related to healthcare fraud. This is believed to be the largest fraud scheme ever charged by the U.S. Justice Department and a reflection of the business owner’s greed through receiving kickbacks, money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery totaling $37 million. In an April 5th, 2019 public statement, prosecutors called him a “despicable,” “vampire” who was fueled by “unbounded greed.”

“Esformes exploited and victimized patients by providing inadequate medical care and poor conditions in his nursing homes. We will continue the fight against such parasites.”

types of strokes

Nursing Homes Are Not Always Equipped to Recover Stroke Patients

2016 recommendations from the American Stroke Association (ASA) still stand true in 2019. If someone living in a nursing home has a stroke, they should be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, rather than remain in the home. The resident may need intensive, multidisciplinary treatment and initial rehabilitation should take place in a specialized care facility equipped with the appropriate care staff. The ASA recommendations go on further to say that the “patient should participate in at least three hours of rehabilitation a day from physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.” Since nurses are continuously available and doctors visit more often than at nursing homes, any form of recovery will be faster than if the patient remains under previous nursing home care.

6 Types of Stroke

nursing home neglect

The Most Important Way to Reduce Complications from Pressure Ulcers Is by Preventing Them

A pressure ulcer, also known as a bed sore, a pressure sore or a decubitus ulcer, may not appear serious at first. The open wound often begins with small red marks on areas of the skin that are in continuous contact with surfaces such as bed linens. Sadly, they are one of most common and preventable injuries that occur in nursing homes and can actually serve as a serious warning signal of nursing home neglect. The sore will almost always make itself known but when the discovery of it gets to this stage it can be a sad situation for any family member to be informed of. By this time, the sore has usually broken down so much skin that the underlying tissue, sometimes bone, is now exposed. These injuries are sure to reveal a larger scope of care issues impacting your loved one’s health. When not taken care of or treated with the medical attention required, pressure sores can lead to severe infection, a general decline in overall health, unnecessary emotional anguish and painful discomfort, and even death.

Questions to Ask If Your Loved One Has a Pressure Ulcer

nursing home opioids

Wisconsin Nurse Charged for Stealing Opioids from Three Nursing Homes

News of a Wisconsin nurse charged with stealing medication from three nursing homes is unfortunately too common of a read these days. According to the Feb. 2019 criminal complaint, the 36-year-old nurse was charged with four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of misdemeanor theft while being employed by Atrium Health Care in Chippewa County. The charges came after another employee contacted local police alerting them that a worker at a nursing home had her name forged in a book that tracks narcotic counts. The book showed Oxycodone had been signed out 11 times with conflicting signatures.

The thief, who was also a trusted nurse, was soon identified and later admitted to taking Opioids and prescription pills, including Vicodin, Oxycodone and Lorazepam, and others from two nursing homes she worked at as well. Opioid drugs are commonly prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain and those in serious, life-threatening illness and can include:

nurse to patient ratio
On Feb. 27, 2019, registered nurses in Illinois, with support of National Nurses United, began lobbying lawmakers in support of a mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratio. Currently, California is the only state with mandatory nurse staffing ratios established for acute care, acute psychiatric and specialty hospitals. The Illinois proposal would mimic California’s design but also mandate minimum staffing standards in long term acute-care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Although this is not new news for Illinois nurses and their 15-year fight for better staffing ratios, the union continues to rally for the mandate citing that patient health is compromised because too few nurses must care for too many patients.

“Mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios save lives,” said Talisa Harden, a registered nurse at the University of Chicago Medicine in a union published news release. “As nurses, we’ve always known it, and now there is a robust body of peer-reviewed literature that proves it. Illinois patients deserve safe and therapeutic care no matter where they are admitted. This bill will make all Illinois patients safer.”

Nursing Homes May Be Deceptive in Staff-to-Patient Ratio Reporting

for profit nursing homes

Vulnerable Populations Pay the Price as U.S. Nursing Home Chains Crumble Under Risky Financial Choices

The Long Term Care Community Coalition, in partnership with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, is preparing a strong agenda for 2019 starting with a joint statement concerning the chaos that has occurred in the nursing home industry as operators, even those of large care groups, are undertaking money hungry risks at the cost of their own staff resources and vulnerable patient residents. The joint statement highlighted investigative findings reported by The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times of these U.S. nursing homes chains.

  • The Carlyle Group bought HCR ManorCare and each year since the number of health deficiencies at the chain rose 26 percent. The Carlyle Group then went on to sell ManorCare’s real estate collection for more than $6 billion dollars but inevitably faced bankruptcy in 2018 after not being able to pay rent to the new owners.

A 29-year-old woman in a vegetative state has given birth to a baby boy in a Phoenix-area nursing home. The woman, a confirmed member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has lived in a vegetative state since she was 15 and nearly drowned. The birth was a complete surprise to staff, not only because her condition makes her unable to consent or engage in sexual activity, but because they were completely unaware of her pregnancy until she went into labor.

Through their lawyer, the woman’s family released a statement, saying in part “The family is obviously outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare.”

Facility Has Persistent Low Ratings, but Promises to Take Accountability for Rape

nursing home abuse

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Submits First Required Biannual Report

The first required biannual report for the Illinois State Veterans Homes has now been published for the reporting period of July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 and highlights the number of complaints made by residents including those listed in a “Resident Grievance Log” and required follow-up by staff, information on any epidemic reported at a veterans home, the number of cases and information on the cases, and action taken by the homes to eradicate the spread of communicable disease. The new reporting requirements enacted in 2018 by Illinois lawmakers mandate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act (20 ILCS 2805/2.13) direct the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IOVA) to report the following information to the Illinois General Assembly:

  • The number and nature of complaints made by residents;

The most profitable area of real estate right now isn’t hotels, trendy restaurants, or even high rise living. For a real estate investor, the safest return on investment is putting money into senior living facilities. According to the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries, in the past 10 years the highest property returns have been on senior housing developments.


Alzheimer’s Rates Expected to Skyrocket

The assisted living housing market, especially those properties with designated memory care facilities, is growing at a rapid pace, partly to keep up with the increasing number of seniors expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Today, an estimated 5.7 people are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association expects that number to jump to 14 million, with 1 American developing Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. The disease is an epidemic and savvy real estate investors are aware that putting their money into senior housing is likely to yield great financial returns.

vietnam veteran care

Vietnam Veteran’s Wrongful Death Awarded $7 Million Verdict

A Cook County Circuit Court jury recently awarded $7 million to the family of Patrick Stein, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), after nurses and paramedics failed to keep him safe in an ambulance transfer from St. James-Olympia Fields hospital to the Edward Hines Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital for psychiatric treatment. The 64-year-old Army veteran died in July 2014, after his PTSD confusion resettled and prompted him to exit an ambulance while it was traveling 30 to 35 miles per hours and sustain fatal injuries to his head and body. Prior to his transfer, his concerned family had brought him to the St. James-Olympia Fields emergency room after finding him outside his daughter’s home with a butcher knife clutched to his abdomen. Once Mr. Stein arrived at the hospital though, he did not remember the episode with the knife and continued to present dangerous confusion, prompting his fatal ambulance ride to the VA hospital. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans.

Levin & Perconti attorneys Michael Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black and Cari Silverman brought the suit on behalf of Mr. Stein’s family. The attorneys argued that Mr. Stein, given his medical history, should have been carefully monitored by medical staff to protect and prevent him from injuring himself during the transfer. Hospital nurses were also faulted for failing to relay information to the paramedics about his mental state. The clinical impressions of the medical staff at St. James indicated Mr. Stein to exhibit:

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