Articles Posted in National Nursing Homes

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“Since nurse staffing is directly related to the quality of care that residents experience, CMS is very concerned about the risk to resident health and safety that these situations may present.”

-11/18/18 CMS memo to state nursing home surveyors

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency tasked with regulating nursing homes, has updated rules for nursing home staffing levels and how they report employee hours.

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evacuation plan

Lawmakers in Outrage of Administration’s Relaxed Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Proposed Requirements

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He has been outspoken on many occasions regarding the outcome of nursing home preparedness in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster. And with President Trump’s Administration’s recent announcement to ease a home’s necessary preparedness for emergencies, his concern came with outrage expressed in an official letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“It is troubling to see CMS decide to further roll back its already inadequate safeguards with this proposed rule, which does more to cut corners than cut costs,” Wyden wrote. “The Trump administration’s proposal not only strips patients of commonsense protections in order to pad the pockets of medical providers, but goes against the recommendations of well-respected national organizations charged with developing best practices for workplace and consumer safety.”

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nursing home vet

Employee Helps Raise Concern Over VA Nursing Home Care

U.S. lawmakers have sent a demand letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, regarding more information be revealed following the horrific exposure of negligent care occurring at an already poorly rated Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in Brockton, Massachusetts. Investigators arrived at the facility after an employee whistleblower contacted congress on the failing nature of the home for veterans. When investigators arrived, they found half a dozen staff sleeping vs. caring for residents.

Democrats from the state, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, penned the letter and included concerns such as, “The continued care lapses at VA facilities raise questions about whether concrete, lasting measures are being implemented to prevent misconduct from occurring again.” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has been requested to give a full explanation regarding the steps that will be taken by the VA to fix the ongoing issues.

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evacuation plan

Senate Report Calls for U.S. Nursing Homes to Create Improved Response to Natural Disasters

When a nursing home or long-term care facility becomes vulnerable to an emergency, such as a natural disaster, all hands need to be prepared for safe resident evacuation, tracking and management of patients, backing up to an effective power and communication system, medication holding and climate control, and a plan for sanitation methods to prevent the spread of deadly infections or illnesses. Unfortunately, both Hurricane Harvey and Irma showed the world that many U.S. nursing homes are not prepared after more than a dozen seniors residing in nursing homes were perished. Months beyond these disastrous response outcomes, ranking members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance have called for more oversight to prevent tragedies with better planning and regulation of facilities, prompted by the release of an 84-page report highlighting the causes and consequences of facility failures related natural disasters.

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) pushed out new nursing home and long-term care facility standards for natural disasters in 2017, lawmakers featured in this November 2018 report said that federal rules need to be “more robust and clear,” and until changes are made, seniors in America’s nursing homes will continue to be at risk when disaster strikes.”

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residents' rights month

Part 2: Residents’ Rights Month

October is Residents’ Rights Month, an annual event created by advocates to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities. This is an important time for family members and residents to be reminded of the rights anyone living in a nursing home has, protected by the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law. In a previous blog post, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti reviewed the first half of these rights to ensure readers understand residents must be treated with the same rights as those individuals residing in the larger community. Those rights found in a blog post titled Part 1: Residents’ Rights Month, include the 1) right to be fully informed, 2) right to complain, 3) right to participate in one’s own care, and 4) right to privacy and confidentiality. The remaining four residents’ rights outlined in the reform law include:

  1. Rights During Transfers and Discharges
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nursing home rights
Part 1: Residents’ Rights Month

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law is a federal law requiring nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” in support of individual dignity and self-determination. Unfortunately, the law is often violated without repercussion because most seniors (and their family members) are not aware of the legal protections that support an individuals’ rights when residing in a nursing home facility. The month of October has been recognized as a time to address these needs and protections. To show support, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti would like to review the first four residents’ legal rights outlined within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law in Part 1 of this Residents’ Rights Month blog series.

Four Nursing Home Rights You Need to Know

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You know them as the organization that ranks colleges and hospitals, but did you also know that U.S. News & World Report maintains their own ratings for nursing homes across the country? Since 2009 the group has maintained and published their Best Nursing Homes list, a compilation of over 15,000 facilities scored along a five point scale that ranges from Poor to Top Performing (Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Top Performing). Those who receiving a Top Performing rating are listed as a “Best Nursing Home.” This scale is intended to to provide an easy comparison to results found on The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Nursing Home Compare site, which ranks nursing homes from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest score.

Until recently, U.S. News used CMS’ ratings as the foundation of their own nursing home grades and U.S. News & World Report nursing home ratings were virtually identical to those found on Nursing Home Compare. However, U.S. News recently decided to change the way they rate nursing homes to give the public what they believe is a more accurate picture of the most important and relevant indicators of quality.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Nursing Homes list included 724 Illinois nursing homes. Of these, 76 facilities received a “Best Nursing Home” designation.

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“They get into trouble, they fix things up just enough to get back into compliance and then they let things slip again. This cycle just goes on for years. Meanwhile, there are people living in these places.”

-Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Lexington Herald-Leader

A tragic story out of a northern Kentucky nursing and rehabilitation center has reignited a topic that we know causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for the loved ones of nursing home residents. How does one find out who the owners of a nursing home actually are and what their history of patient care is? The details of the wrongful death case of 45-year-old Bobby Crail help highlight the ability of nursing homes to repeatedly get away with maltreatment and even skirt financial and legal responsibility. It also highlights why if your loved one has been mistreated, abused, or neglected in a nursing home, you need an attorney who has both the experience and tenacity to successfully stand up to major corporations capable of these horrific behaviors.

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Swansea Rehabilitation and Health Care Center is being sued by the wife and daughter of a 76-year-old resident that had just been admitted to recover from 2 recent falls. Windsor Keller had fallen twice in the 3 months prior to his admittance to Swansea Rehab & Health Care Center and was intended to be a short stay patient who would ultimately return to the independent living community that he and his wife called home.

On December 27, 2017, just 8 days after being admitted, Mrs. Constance Keller went to visit with her husband at Swansea. She discovered her husband in a subdued state, with his leg twisted behind his wheelchair and his teeth falling out. She discovered that he had fallen earlier that day and had him transferred to a local hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a fractured femur (the main bone in the upper leg) and a brain bleed.

No Fall Prevention Measures for Known Fall Risk

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A Special Focus Facility (SFF) is being sued by the family of Delores Green, an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia, for allegedly failing to prevent her from being ‘repeatedly’ raped and sodomized.

The victim’s daughter, Vivian Colette Green, is suing Christian Care Home in Ferguson, Missouri for the alleged rapes after discovering her mother injuries just last month. A resident of the facility for nearly 8 years, the victim is unable to communicate, unable to walk, relies on a feeding tube, and is a diabetic. She was unable to tell her daughter what had taken place, but Vivian Green said she quickly realized that her mother had suffered sexual trauma due to the bruises and swelling on her body.

Upon discovering the injuries, Ms. Green immediately questioned staff at Christian Care Home but after feeling ignored and realizing the injuries were getting worse, she called the police. An emergency room physician conducted a rape examination, which includes a physical exam as well as a rape kit, and said her injuries were consistent with recent multiple rapes that had taken place over the course of several weeks. An investigation has identified a suspect, a fellow resident within Christian Care Home, but that suspect has not officially been named by police.