Articles Posted in National Nursing Homes

Chicago News – CBS 2 News at 10:00 covers the story of Margaret Collins.

Nursing home resident Margaret Collins, a 91 year old woman with dementia, was the subject of repeated harassment from two nursing home employees. The upsetting viral video has caused a backlash of anger against elder abuse and an outpouring of support for Margaret Collins and her family.

nrusing home reform

Senate Hearing Regarding U.S. Nursing Homes Called Attention to Unfixed Issues and Reform 

An estimated 1.5 million individuals receive care from nursing homes nationwide each day, many of whom are living with serious physical and cognitive impairments, leaving them frail and remarkably vulnerable to abuse and neglect injustices. On July 23, 2019, members of the Senate Finance Committee Hearing once again heard pleas from elder community leaders about the constant struggles of Americans dependent on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

(CMS) regulated skilled nursing facilities face each day. These guests discussed the continual lack of follow thru to require facilities to improve, a disregard to follow federal regulation by U.S. nursing home administrators, and ongoing failures to meet minimum care standards.

poor elder care

Nursing Home Chain Failures Highlight a Greater Need for Ownership Regulation and Closer Government Review 

Some of the most troubling elder abuse and neglect stories stemmed from nursing home private ownership in the U.S. recently emerged thanks to an NBC News investigation featuring a man named Joseph Schwartz and his responsibilities over nursing home and long-term care facility chain, Skyline Healthcare. The mogul swiftly built his empire out of a small New Jersey office and then across the Midwest. It failed miserably leaving life-long pain and suffering for more 7,000 elderly Americans in more than 100 facilities in 11 states.

Massachusetts: Schwartz told staff there was no more money to fund all of his nursing homes or to pay them. The care team was buying toilet paper with personal funds to help residents. Patients were left for days in their feces due to staffing cuts and no one to help them. When some of the homes closed, 60 residents had nowhere to go, and family members were left uninformed of their loved one’s displacement. In March of 2019, the final three former Skyline Healthcare nursing homes in Massachusetts were closed and placed in receivership after Schwartz agreed to surrender licenses.

understaffing legislation

Slammed with a New Law and Bigger Fines, Will Illinois’ Nursing Homes Finally Start Providing Enough Care for Residents?

In June 2019, Illinois lawmakers, sparked by a bill sponsored by state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, passed legislation in support of increasing fines and penalties for nursing homes who are not meeting minimum standards for staffing and also provided $240 million to fill a $649 million projected funding gap between the state and federal government. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will receive $70 million of the newly budgeted state dollars to build-up nurse staffing. The bill also demands better communication between family members of loved ones who reside in nursing homes so they can be informed of staffing challenges that may interrupt or delay the level of care expected.

Several groups and elder organizations supported, endorsed, and pushed the legislation including:

elderly medical care

National Survey Evidence Shows Behavioral Health Services Inadequate in Most U.S. Nursing Homes

Researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine started surveying randomly selected skilled nursing facilities in 2017, asking questions about the types of behavioral health issues residents have, available behavioral health services, quality, satisfaction, staffing, staff education, turnover and service barriers. Now complete, the results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on June 5, 2019 and show that mental health disorders can affect up to 90 percent of nursing home residents in as many as a third of the nation’s nursing homes and community-based care facilities.

In this first review of its kind, researchers measured four different outcomes:

nursing home abuse and neglect

CMS Will Publicly Post All Names of Most Concerning Care Facilities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reacting to the highly publicized release of U.S. Senators Bob Casey’s (D-PA) and Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, by announcing it will soon disclose all of the names of care facility candidates in the agency’s Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. SFFs have a “persistent record of poor care” and were previously not available for the public to review. Some lawmakers and resident advocates even called the list a “scary secret” kept from the public to protect nursing home owners and their reputations.

The Pennsylvania lawmakers list included only 400+ facilities, 22 of which are located throughout Illinois, but there are almost 3,000 nursing homes that have a one-star rating on their health inspections, the worst ranking possible. With only 88 SFF program slots funded that likely leaves so many additional poor performing candidates for the program to publicly acknowledge. 

retirement home

Nursing Homes With “No Harm” Deficiencies Are Not Being Held Accountable

Nationwide, a majority of nursing homes voluntarily participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Because of this partnership, facilities must adhere to minimum standards of care established by the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. Those who do not comply, should receive health violations leading to various penalties including fines or in some of the most severe cases, a group’s Medicare or Medicaid certification will be suspended or revoked by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

CMS data indicates that about 95 percent of these health violations are cited as causing “no harm” to residents. In a May 2019 newsletter published by the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) several examples of these “no harm” deficiencies, taken from Statements of Deficiencies (SoDs) on Nursing Home Compare, were discussed. Surveyors classified all of the shortcomings listed below as “no harm,” meaning that they determined that residents were neither hurt nor put into immediate jeopardy for their health or well-being.

nursing home abuse attorneys

Viral Photo Shows Nursing Home Resident Covered in Vomit, Begging for Help

In October of 2018, a visitor at Legend Oaks Healthcare in San Antonio, Texas was witness to an older woman, left in a wheelchair and covered in vomit, begging for help for several hours in a nursing room hallway.

The man who took the photo was not connected to the woman who battles dementia but said he was so disturbed by the resident’s situation he wanted to share the documented encounter with local News4 in San Antonio. The observer told the reporters that instead of helping clean the woman he saw employees throw towels at her and around her as she begged for help, hours on end.

nursing home attorneys

Lawmakers Look to Position Older Americans Act into a Greater Enlightenment Phase

In 2017, the Older Americans Act (OAA) served more than 700,000 caregivers; and provided seniors across the country with 358 million meals. These services hit only the tip of how the law has improved the lives of seniors. OAA is also a federal policy that invests back to help older individuals age in place or at home and out of nursing homes and hospitals through low-cost, community-based services.

On Wednesday, May 8th the Senate Aging Committee held a hearing to highlight the importance of the OAA led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee in hopes to rally a bipartisan coalition for OAA’s reauthorization prior to it expiring on September 30.

nursing home attorneys

Underpaid At-Home Caregivers File Lawsuit Against Employer

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is reporting a story coming out of the U.S. District Court in Little Rock concerning underpaid caregivers who have filed a lawsuit against Palco, a financial management services company headquartered in Arkansas that provides support to Medicaid recipients across several states. The business has clients such as veterans, the elderly, and children who participate in at-home and community-based services and require help with daily living tasks. The suit is seeking class-action status on behalf of all people who were paid as caregivers by the company under the Independent Choices Medicaid program within the past three years.

According to the state Department of Human Services, Independent Choices assist about 3,000 Medicaid recipients who receive in-home services in processing payroll and guides recipients in paying workers who help them, most of who are often family or friends. The lawsuit says the plaintiffs and other workers have regularly worked more than 40 hours a week and weren’t paid one-and-a-half times their regular wage by their employer as required under the Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA). Medicaid recipients are only the employer if they hired the home care worker directly, and no agency or other organization is involved, such as Palco.

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