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Many executive level nursing home employees are seeing higher paychecks than in years past. According to the 40th annual Nursing Home Salary & Benefits Report, nursing home administrator salaries went up nearly 3% between 2016 to 2017. According to, the average nursing home administrator salary in Chicago is $116,515, more than the study’s reported national average of $97,401. Nursing home executive directors and directors of nursing are also faring well. Executive director average salaries went up 2.46%, from $127,262 in 2016 to $130,389 in 2017, while directors of nursing saw a 2.64% jump (from $89,092 to $91,444 in 2017).

Executives Thriving While CNAs Barely Getting By

The survey only serves to highlight the disparity in pay between executive level employees and those who actually engage in day-to-day care of elderly nursing home residents. A 2016 study reported that 1/3 of CNAs are receiving public assistance, with close to half of them living far below the poverty level. When the American Health Care Association was asked to respond, they blamed the high number of nursing home residents on Medicaid and the program’s notoriously low reimbursement rate. However, not being able to pay CNAs a living wage due to Medicaid reimbursement rates has obviously not affected facilities’ ability to pay top level executives.

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Dementia is one of the most frequent diagnoses among nursing home residents. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 50% of those in nursing homes or assisted living facilities have some form of the disease.

Despite its prevalence, dementia is a frequently misunderstood illness, even by those who care for elders on a daily basis. One of the most common misconceptions is that all behaviors associated with dementia or cognitive impairment are symptoms of the disease itself. Years of research has led experts to conclude that many vocal and physical expressions are not actually behaviors, but are cues that those suffering from dementia are unable to clearly express.

Distress Signals Mistakenly Believed to Be Dementia-Related Behaviors

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A widow who is a resident of St. Anthony’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rock Island is suing the nursing home and two former employees for forcing her to sell her home and giving her only $2,000 from the sale. In addition to the civil suit, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has fined the nursing home $2,000 for having a hand in financial abuse of an elder. The Rock Island County state’s attorney is also currently investigating the incident to determine if they will proceed with criminal charges.

Husband of St. Anthony’s Employee Bought Widow’s Home

The facts do not appear to be in the nursing home’s favor. Colleen Allen, a widow who was admitted to St. Anthony’s with congestive heart failure and bipolar disorder, says she was told she had to sell her home to keep her Medicaid benefits. She reluctantly consented and was given $2,000 from the sale in April 2016.

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People are always shocked to hear that nursing homes, responsible for the care and safety of 1.3 million Americans, are not always required to carry liability insurance. When a loved is injured as a result of negligence or abusive actions on the part of nursing home staff, a lack of insurance often deters them from pursuing a lawsuit, even when the injuries result in death.

Expensive Policies Deter Nursing Homes Focused on Financial Bottom Line

In Illinois, there is no law requiring a facility to carry nursing home liability insurance. Among other factors, insurance rates are based off of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) inspection reports, specifically in areas relating to neglect.

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This week, a Cook County judge upheld a $4.1 million verdict that found Assisi at Clare Oaks in Bartlett liable for a stroke that ultimately contributed to the death of Dolores Trendel. Levin & Perconti served as attorneys for the family of Ms. Trendel, securing the record-setting verdict under the Nursing Home Care Act after a jury trial in July 2017.

Just this week, the nursing home attempted to overturn the verdict and was denied.  Instead, a Cook County circuit court judge ordered the nursing home to pay an additional $147,000 directly to the family, as well as $1.3 million in attorney’s fees. The combined amount added to the initial verdict makes the total awarded to the family $5.6 million.

Instead of Increased Dosage, Staff Stopped Medication 

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For-profit nursing homes are more frequently outsourcing business via sister companies operated by the same owner. But a recent Kaiser Health News (KHN) analysis of federal inspection and quality records reveals that, “Nursing homes that outsource to related organizations tend to have significant shortcomings: They have fewer nurses and aides per patient, they have higher rates of patient injuries and unsafe practices, and they are the subject of complaints almost twice as often as independent homes.” In addition, KHN found these like issues at other homes with similar corporate structures:

  • Homes that did business with sister companies employed, on average, 8 percent fewer nurses and aides.
  • As a group, these homes were 9 percent more likely to have hurt residents or put them in immediate jeopardy of harm, and amassed 53 validated complaints for every 1,000 beds, compared with the 32 per 1,000 that inspectors found credible at independent homes.
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It’s nice to hear medical malpractice claims have seen a 56 percent drop in the United States since 1992. That is what a March 27, 2018 report published by JAMA Internal Medicine has showed. Although, study authors also found that the most common medical malpractice claims still stem from diagnostic errors or missed diagnoses and that keeps the nursing home neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti cautiously concerned. Our team hears of major medical errors happening all too frequently, especially to those who receive their care while in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

How To Identify Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose

Since most nursing homes do not employ doctors, a large percentage of nursing home residents will still receive their care from family practice physicians, therapists, visiting doctors, and other medical specialists not affiliated with the nursing home. These clinicians, even medical specialists such as cardiologists and neurologists, may take visits to the nursing home at the request of nursing home patients and their family members. However, just like in a clinic or hospital setting, these medical professionals can fail to notice obvious signs of illness, or neglect to diagnose a condition. Nursing home staff can also contribute to the problem as some care workers have been directed by administrators to falsify reports of ongoing resident health issues and create medication errors..

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The family of an elderly man who was caught on camera being abused at a Detroit-area nursing home is suing the facility. Staff members at Autumnwood of Livonia are accused in the lawsuit of abusing now 89 year old Husein Younes, pushing him into his wheelchair, telling him to shut up, and insulting him. The lawsuit says the insults hurled at Mr. Younes were racial in nature, leading the family to believe the abuse was racially motivated. Mr. Younes is Lebanese American.

Hidden Camera Catches Abuse in Just 2 Days

In 2015, Mr. Younes’ son, Salim Younes, noticed his father was losing weight and had bumps and bruises all over his body. Mr. Younes also told his son that he was being mistreated. Immediately, Salim Younes  questioned Autumnwood staff, who brushed off his injuries as the result of multiple falls. Unsatisfied, Salim Younes installed a hidden camera in his father’s room. Within 2 days, the hidden camera footage revealed over 100 instances of abuse of Husein Younes, including verbal assaults and incredibly aggressive handling of him in and out of his wheelchair.

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Earlier this month, it was decided that nearly 28,000 low-income Illinois caregivers for people with disabilities will finally receive the $.48 raise that the General Assembly approved in last summer’s budget deal. The $.48 raise was supposed to have gone into effect on August 5, 2017 per state law that says, “Within 30 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 100th General Assembly, the hourly wage paid to personal assistants and individual maintenance home health workers [in the DHS Home Services Program] shall be increased by $0.48 per hour.” P.A. 100-0023, Article 30, Section 30-20.

The workers have waited nearly seven months for the wage increase after Governor Rauner moved to withhold it, but the Cook County Circuit Court’s new ruling orders say that the State must implement the $.48-cent raise for all hours worked since August 5, 2017 by March 21, 2018. This is the first pay raise these workers have received since 2014.

Poverty rates are high among caregivers for people with disabilities and most of these workers in Illinois earn a mere $10 an hour, driving nearly 40 percent to rely on some form of public assistance and 26 percent to live in households below the federal poverty line, compared to 7 percent of the state’s workers.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has lightened up on the 3 hour time requirement for daily inpatient rehabilitation therapy. Beginning March 23rd, providers will no longer have to provide 3 hours of direct daily rehab services to patients in order to receive reimbursement. Now, CMS requires providers to assess the patient’s health and treatment plan and submit a clinical judgment as to whether or not a patient should have inpatient rehab services covered by Medicare. Many providers had complained that 3 hours was not always necessary, or that they had been just minutes shy of the 3 hour time minimum and had not received reimbursement. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly 1/4 of all inpatient rehab claims are denied by Medicare contractors, something that many providers consider when deciding where to refer patients for rehabilitation services. Instead of referring patients to facilities specifically geared towards rehabilitating patients with the intent to eventually send them home, many providers are steering patients to skilled nursing facilities to ensure they’ll receive payment. A patient in need of rehab for serious injuries would receive better treatment at a facility dedicated to rehabilitation services, but the fear of nonpayment has providers pushing patients towards those places guaranteed to pay, never a fair choice when it comes to health care.

With more than $660 million recovered for our clients and nearly 3 decades of experience, the elder abuse attorneys of Levin & Perconti are committed to passionately fighting for families who have been devastated by poor treatment of a loved one entrusted to the care of a nursing home or rehabilitation facility.

If you believe someone you love has been harmed as the result of abuse or neglect within a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, please call our elder abuse attorneys at 312-374-1417 or fill out our online case evaluation form. Consultations are free and confidential.