Articles Tagged with nursing home news

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 abuse whistleblower

Skilled Nursing Facility Employees Can Report Abuse and Neglect

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed potential abuse and neglect claims of more than 34,820 Medicare beneficiaries who were residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 2016 and sent to the emergency room. The OIG released its findings in June of 2019 concluding that about one in five potential cases of abuse of elders or neglect were never reported to state inspection agencies, even though it’s a federal requirement for them to do so.

Here is a closer look at what the OIG report had to say:

medicare theft

Four Chicago Nursing Facilities Caught Up in Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Case

Some Chicago nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are paying nearly $10 million back to the U.S. government after being caught lying about the level of care their patients required and for violating the False Claims Act by overbilling federal health insurers. Greed came through by abusing power over resident benefits paid for through Medicare and maximizing those amounts under fraudulent therapies and support.

At the center of the fraud sat Quality Therapy and Consultation Inc. of Orland Park, and its owner, Frances Parise. Parise allegedly worked with these four Chicago facilities.

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. 

alzheimers awareness month

Learn About Alzheimer’s Disease and Assisted Living Centers

The month of June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process and for the estimated 5.8 million Americans who have been diagnosed with the debilitating memory and behavior illness – life is not easy. As these people with one of the most common types of dementia grow older, 75 percent will become entirely dependent on someone else to care for them. Much of the time, this support will be found in a facility where residents are easily ignored, abused, neglected, or tragically lost in a wandering or elopement incident.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports there are close to 2 million cases of elder abuse incidences each year for dementia residents living in community settings such as assisted living centers, homes that operate much different than federal and state regulated nursing facilities. There are 291 assisted living centers identified by the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) that provide care to those with Alzheimer’s or dementia in Illinois. Two of these facilities are Brookdale Senior Living Centers located at Brookdale Orland Park and Brookdale Urbana. Brookdale is one of the largest owners and operators of senior living facilities in the U.S. Owners of these types of large, financially driven organizations are often found guilty of putting profits over resident and patient care. Brookdale’s presence in Illinois is significant, as it was the focus of a 2018 New York Times feature on assisted living facilities and dementia and Alzheimer’s care.

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.

sexual assault

Suit Filed Against State After Rape and Pregnancy of Incapacitated Woman

Lawyers for a young Arizona woman who was consistently raped and then impregnated by her nurse have filed a 54-page claim against the state seeking $45 million in damages. The 29-year-old woman was a patient and resident under the care of Hacienda Healthcare long-term care facility located in Phoenix. She has been nonverbal and intellectually disabled since the age of three after a drowning accident. Due to repeated sexual assault by a staff member, the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy in December of 2018.  Shockingly, the claim also says the woman could have been pregnant before.

Hacienda Healthcare did publicly apologize for the incident and has promised to follow more robust hiring and training practices. The Arizona Department of Health Services has not yet released a comment regarding the case. 

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 abuse

10 Ways Banks Can Help Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation

Not only are family members and financial caregivers watching out for financial abuse targeted at the elderly, including vulnerable nursing home residents, but banks and other financial institutions are also filing an increasing number of suspicious account reports (SARs). This year, the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans received over 180,000 encounters of suspicious elder financial exploitation (EFE), involving a total of more than $6 billion since 2013.

Noted in a 2019 report published by the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, banks reported a total of $1.7 billion in suspicious activities in just 2017, including actual losses and attempts to steal the older adults’ funds.

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.

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