Articles Posted in National Nursing Homes

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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.

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nursing home disaster plan

Healthcare Facilities Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Although new Medicare and Medicaid guidelines were set in place after the tragic deaths of over 100 nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina, cases of patients left behind due to natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, or floods are reported each year. These occurrences are starting to prompt health care officials to raise concern over the need for better public policy support, emergency planning resources, funding, and protections for vulnerable long-term care residents in the event of an emergency prompted by catastrophic events and conditions that threaten their well-being such as no internet and no electricity.

A recent federal review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) records found that:

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“Frail and vulnerable people are harmed when nursing homes fail to meet our standards. And I don’t think any of us wants to wait until the next natural disaster or other disaster exposes some kind of a deficiency that kills dozens of people.”

                                                 -Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)

On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to address substandard care and recent findings of abuse and neglect in U.S. nursing homes.

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Nursing Homes May Transfer Ownership to Hide Questionable Care

In the aftermath of a resident accident, report of abuse or neglect, or serious complaints against staff, a nursing home’s lease or title may simply be transferred to another company as a way to position a band-aid over real issues. When nursing home facilities are often bought, resold and rebranded, families of residents should raise questions about whether administrators or staff are to blame.

“A May 2016 article in the Boston Globe highlighted the findings of a Harvard University study on the impact an acquisition has on nursing home quality. The study found that there was a direct link between the number of times a facility had changed hands and the number of state violations it had. The authors ultimately concluded that the changing of hands wasn’t the cause, but the fact that the facility itself was plagued by troubles and that changing ownership did little to improve it.” – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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James Burkhart, the former CEO of American Senior Communities (ASC), Indiana’s largest nursing home chain, has just been sentenced to nearly 10 years in federal prison.

“Obsessed with Money”

From 2009 – 2015, Burkhart and several other high-ranking ASC executives engaged in a moneymaking scheme that included kickbacks and overcharging vendors, charges to which Burkhart pled guilty. Burkhart and his associates made $19.4 million during that time period, with $10 million taken from Indiana’s public health system.