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Levin & Perconti Attorneys Represent Family of Korean War Veteran Who Died During Veterans Home COVID-19 Outbreak

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed against The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Levin & Perconti Law Firm is representing the estate of 90-year-old Korean War veteran Richard Cieski. In November 2020, Mr. Cieski was a resident who died after being exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run veterans’ facility, located at 1015 Oconor Avenue in LaSalle, Illinois.

Levin & Perconti partner Michael Bonamarte said that Mr. Ciskei’s death could have been avoided had LaSalle taken appropriate precautions. That includes preventing breaks in infection control practices, understaffing care worker shifts, relaxed masking orders and disregard for proper hand hygiene, and little or no social distancing in some facility areas.

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The Nation’s Largest Senior Living Operator Sued for Wrongfully Discharging Patients

California’s attorney general, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, and local officials are suing ten of Brookdale Senior Living Inc.’s California-based skilled nursing facilities. The suit alleges that the nation’s largest senior living home operator had misled consumers on quality ratings and broke laws intended to protect patients when they are discharged from a facility if their Medicare coverage ended. The company is also said to have failed in giving the 30-day notice of transfers or discharges as required for all U.S. skilled nursing facilities.

“Brookdale does this so it can fill its beds with residents who will bring in more money,” the lawsuit files read. It says the company will discharge patients “regardless of the care and treatment needs,” and that the company also failed to prepare patients to be released or transferred adequately, gave false information to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid that it uses to award quality ratings, and over-reported its nursing staffing hours to the feds.

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Medical Malpractice Briefing Includes Facts on U.S. Nursing Home Industry’s Failed Response To COVID

The 2021 update to the briefing book Medical Malpractice: By The Numbers, published by the Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) at New York Law School, has been released and includes the latest statistics and research on issues related to medical malpractice, including long-term care wrongdoing. The 141-page volume includes over 400 linked footnotes and sources. It also discusses how laws could make it harder for patients and their families to place accountability on health care providers and nursing home owners in the case of medical negligence.

Medical Malpractice as it Relates to Long Term Care Providers

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COVID-19 Proved Just How Unsupported Nursing Assistants Are at U.S. Long-Term Care Facilities

According to the National Direct Care Workforce Resource Center,

more than 600,000 nursing assistants provide personal care, assistance with daily activities, and clinical support for 1.4 million nursing home residents nationwide. In a revealing editorial by the Co-Founder & CEO of the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA), Lori Porter says the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has been the darkest time for these workers, resulting in failures in care and protection against injuries, illness, and infectious diseases.

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Justice in Aging: How The American Rescue Plan Helps Older Adults

More than 45% of Americans over 65 have trouble meeting their basic needs. As a new administration works to provide COVID-19 relief to older adults, many of who are reliant on Medicaid funding for their health care, including long-term care, a fifth COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319), was signed into law totaling $1.9 trillion on Mar. 11, 2021.

The law is expected to significantly improve health care access and increase economic security for older adults due to the pandemic. Medicaid is the funder for most long-term care in the United States, whether at home or in an institution. An analysis provided by Justice in Aging, an organization committed to fighting senior poverty through the law, outlines the significant provisions impacting older adults, including Illinois nursing home residents and long-term care patients.

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Older Adults in Illinois Long-Term Care Settings Should Be Vaccinated with Sense of Urgency

It’s been nearly three months since COVID-19 vaccines have been made available for Illinois nursing home residents and staff, making them a priority in the long line of vaccine recipients across the state. Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) say approximately 414,900 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for Illinois long-term care facilities. A total of 361,971 vaccines have been administered to residents and staff as of Mar. 21, 2021.

Unfortunately, Chicago’s WGN9 reports that Illinois’ largest skilled nursing facility, City View Multicare Center, located at 5825 West Cermak Road in Cicero, has not made it a priority to have residents and staff vaccinated. Employees of the facility, and SEIU Healthcare, one of the fastest-growing union of nursing home workers in the Midwest, says management failed to enroll in the federal program designed to partner skilled nursing facilities like City View with major pharmacies to vaccinate residents and staff to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and outbreaks.

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Illinois Nursing Home Residents Still Battling COVID-19 Challenges, Pandemic Concerns Remain High in Cook County

On Feb. 25, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 1,884 new coronavirus disease cases. And while 130,000 doses of vaccine were administered across the state, the greatest group of individuals at risk of deadly exposure remain the elderly and those living in nursing homes and long-term care and rehabilitation facilities. In the weekly report, IDPH also provided a list of counties with recent fatalities.

  • Adams County: 1

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COVID-19 Vaccines Are Showing Improvement in Illinois Nursing Home Infections

Finally, as more and more vaccines are being distributed by CVS Health and Walgreens and now received by Illinois’ most vulnerable residents against the coronavirus, the majority of the state’s 1,800 long-term care sites have now completed their first round of shots. The CDC reported on a sample of 11,460 skilled-nursing sites that while 77.8% of residents had received a dose, only 37.5% of employees received their first dose. The low number could prove to be problematic and related to inadequate worker training and education.

Nursing home residents, rehabilitation patients, and those dependents on assisted living services account for nearly half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. The Illinois Department of Public Health recorded only 861 new cases and 85 fatalities among residents during the week ending Friday, Feb. 18. That was the lowest weekly death tally for Illinois long-term care facilities since October.

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2021 Justice in Aging Guide Identifies 25 Ongoing Nursing Home Problems

State-licensed elder care and rehabilitation centers in Illinois may include assisted living facilities, and residential or personal care homes. Unfortunately, hundreds of investigations into these facilities continue to reveal these 25 repetitive problems noted by the Justice in Aging. The organization’s newly published 2021 list points to issues related to relaxed oversight and understaffing workforces, preventable resident injuries, painful and unnecessary evictions, Medicaid complications, dangerous patient abuse and neglect, and irreversible tragedies for families.

Problem #1: Providing Less Care to Medicaid-eligible Residents

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Common Questions and Answers About COVID-19 Vaccines for Illinois Nursing Home Families

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), consistent with federal agency standards, recommends residents of long-term care facilities be included among those offered the first supply of COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for residents of long-term care facilities has been occurring in Phase 1A since the distribution began on December 28, 2020. The state has been using the federal government’s nursing home and long-term care vaccination program alongside Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in charge of administering the vaccine to residents.

The state health agency reports Phase 1A is still underway and about 41% of 850,000 health care workers and nursing home residents have received at least one inoculation and nearly 12% getting both doses so far.

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