Articles Posted in National Nursing Homes

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

nursing home neglect

Long-Term Care Resident Left Unattended Dies While Smoking Near Oxygen Tank 

Ohio police in Oakwood Village are investigating the death of a resident from Grande Oaks Nursing Home. The man had caught on fire while smoking a cigarette in his wheelchair outside of the facility. Reports show he was allegedly smoking outside while using an oxygen tank when his wheelchair caught fire. Because staff allegedly were not aware, they did not respond. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until someone driving by noticed the fire and smoke and immediately contacted 911. Local police say they arrived to a smoldering wheelchair parked in front of the building with a male laying on the ground, face down. The man had already stopped breathing and CPR was administered. He later died from his burn-related injuries at a nearby hospital.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policies show, “Oxygen use is prohibited in smoking areas for the safety of residents (NFPA 101, 2000 ed., 19.7.4). Facilities should ensure resident safety by such efforts as informing visitors of smoking policies and hazards to prevent smoking-related incidents and/or injuries.

elder abuse law

The Problem with Easing Regulations That Protect Nursing Home Residents

Several new policies were created to safeguard residents in 2014 setting nursing homes up for better accountability, such as fining violating nursing homes each day until problems were fixed and publicly exposing a facility when residents report care complaints. But since 2016, regulation on the rules nursing homes have to follow in order to collect Medicare or Medicaid dollars has seen a risky overhaul, marking the new administration responsible for the removal of several health and safety regulations essential to protecting residents.

These rules were intended to dictate how nursing homes operate, and the group’s inspections and surveys are designed to spur change and compliance through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is the federal agency tasked with the oversight and regulation of over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. In August 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an alert that CMS has inadequate procedures to identify and report incidents of abuse or neglect to law enforcement.

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Nursing Home Countersues Although Liability Accepted for Man’s Choking Death

In 2013, an 82-year-old man died from a preventable choking incident at Woodhaven Care Center in New York. The nursing home accepted liability for the man’s death, and a jury awarded $1 million to the man’s family highlighting the issues with understaffing. The wrongful death lawsuit stated that inattentive nursing home staff failed to provide the man with his dentures and fed him food that was not a part of his dietary plan. The man was then left unsupervised, choked on the meal and died within moments after a nurse’s station video camera caught the incident. Staff also waited nearly 20 minutes before calling for help and dialing 911.

Today, Woodhaven has outrageously presented a countersuit against the family of the deceased for alleged money yet owed for his stay. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys plan to follow this story as mediation in the case will be scheduled in the future.

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Nursing Home Associated with Large, For-Profit Network Sued After Woman Suffered and Died

News of a recent lawsuit against Three Mile Curve Operations LLC, dba Logan Center, Genesis Healthcare LLC a nursing home in Logan Center, West Virginia alleges that poor care provided at the facility caused a woman who required rehabilitative services and assistance with day-to-day tasks to suffer from neglect related injuries and eventually die.

According to a March 25th report in the West Virginia Record, an incident took place on April 12, 2018, which triggered the untimely death of Ms. Lilian Messer soon after being admitted to the facility.

nursing home falls

Assisted-Living Resident Suffered Multiple Injuries Due to Inadequate Fall Prevention Care

One of the nation’s largest for-profit assisted-living providers in the country, SavaSeniorCare, operates Cheyenne Healthcare Center, a Wyoming care facility that recently settled a 2018 lawsuit alleging negligent care of a patient in 2015. The man claimed to have suffered multiple injuries from several falls and blamed an “inadequate level of staffing care and the facility not developing a comprehensive care plan that met his medical and physical needs.”

In addition, the lawsuit allegedly claimed the facility failed to notify the man’s family of his injuries and other medical issues that developed during his stay.

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