Articles Posted in Nursing Home Negligence

medicaid nursing home patients

Hole torn in a dollar bill with medicaid text

Nursing Home Residents on Medicaid Suffer Most 

Most whose financial situation would be characterized as low income and need to remain in a nursing home for longer than expected, Medicaid will quickly become the primary payer for their long-term care. Designed as a public assistance program for individuals with limited financial support, Medicaid funds a person’s physician visits, hospital, and long-term care, drugs, medical equipment and transportation, and other medical services.

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:

nursing home neglect attorneys

New Study Shows Majority of Nation’s Nursing Homes Fail to Meet RN Staffing Requirements

Harvard and Vanderbilt medical schools recently put researchers to the task of examining payroll records from over 15,000 U.S. nursing homes, revealing the staggering truth about registered nurse (RN) staffing. Three-fourths of the nation’s nursing homes never meet federal staffing expectations for registered nurse staffing, and RNs are missing from such facilities on the weekends.

Health Affairs published the study in its July issue in which co-author David Grabowski, a professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard, said that the conclusions based on a year’s worth of newly logged payroll data, could present much more significant issues in elder care today and well into the future.

resident violence

Nursing Home Blames “Limited Resources” for Multiple Acts of Resident-on-Resident Violence

A facility located in Aurora, Colorado and operated by Renew, First Phoenix-Aurora of Wisconsin, and Peregrine Administration of Colorado is again at the center of a violent resident-on-resident legal case involving a 92-year-old resident who was found beaten by another individual who she shared the facility with. According to reports of the lawsuit, the woman with dementia was sitting in her wheelchair, in a hallway, when the assault occurred and now suffers from anxiety and other recurring medical complications. Attorneys are seeking more than $100,000 in damages for the injured woman and her family.

The victim was failed by staff and administrators who say they don’t have the resources to keep a known violent resident, who continues to harm others, away from those who live there. Many of Renew’s residents are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and not able to speak up or acknowledge the abuse for themselves and remain dependent on others to keep them safe and protected from such abuse.

elderly wandering risks

Hot Weather Poses Extra Health Risks for Nursing Home Residents

Even for residents who are sedentary, spending time outdoors or active indoors in small amounts can help decrease recovery times and promote independence. However, during the summer months when temperatures sometimes skyrocket into the dangerous digits, elderly who travel outdoors or are without the appropriate indoor cooling areas, can become especially at risk and negatively react to high-temperature exposures.

Because aging and certain medications can complicate the body’s ability to regulate temperatures, problems such as dehydration, fluid retention, heat stress, and heat stroke, and cardiac-related events leading to death may present more often.

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. 

illinois nursing home attorneys

List of 22 Seriously Under-Performing Nursing Homes in Illinois Released Publicly for First Time 

After an inquiry led by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, overseen by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), shared a list of nearly 400 consistently underperforming nursing homes, 22 of which are located throughout Illinois. Previously CMS did not publicly disclose the names and locations of these SFF identified facilities. These are nursing homes that if not improved or fail to provide resolutions to documented quality problems, can be cut off by Medicare and Medicaid funding and support.

On June 3, 2019, the concerned lawmakers published the list in a public report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, and included all of the homes CMS has deemed to have a “persistent record of poor care” and systemic shortcomings.

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.

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