Articles Posted in National Nursing Home News

Arbitration Agreement

FAIR Act Bill Has Passed the House, Now Headed to the Senate

On Friday, September 20, lawmakers in the House voted 225-186 to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), with the help of many supporters who look to hold long-term care doers responsible for abuse and neglect. The bill is designed to end forced pre-dispute arbitration in contracts between consumers and corporations, including nursing homes, long-term care centers and assisted living communities.

Moving ahead, the FAIR Act could:

nursing home neglect

Nursing Home’s Failed Disaster Response Resulted in 12 Resident Deaths 

Four former employees at the Florida nursing home plagued with power outages from Hurricane Irma will be held responsible for the 12 residents who died from heat-related injuries and illnesses in 2017. The deceased were all residents at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and ranged in age 57 to 99.

The employees, of which three were nurses and one a facility administrator, failed to do their basic duty to protect life and never dialed 911 for evacuation help. The company responsible for restoring power to the home released a statement that “those customers who have electricity dependent medical needs should call 911 if they are without power and in a life-threatening situation.”

nursing home abuse and neglect

Senators Blame Government Regulating Office for Growing Number of Nursing Home Deficiencies

On Tuesday, July 23, bi-partisan members of the Senate Finance Committee, led by ranking committee member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), once again raised alarming concerns over the rising amount of physical, verbal, mental and sexual abuse incidences occurring inside U.S. nursing homes. In addition, and not for the first time this year, confusion regarding the current lack of oversight role the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is playing, and funding needs to support sufficient resident-to-staff ratios were recognized and discussed at great length.

Several lawmakers referenced a same-day released report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that found:

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.

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. 

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.

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.

nursing home abuse

AARP Speaks Out on Alarming Proposed Changes to Nursing Home Regulation

At Levin & Perconti we continuously monitor changes to current federal and state nursing home regulations in order to inform our clients of how those changes might impact quality of care. Recently we were pleased to see one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country, AARP, voice concerns about regulatory actions of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a letter to the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

Not Enforcing the Rules

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