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ProPublica Launches Updated Nursing Home Abuse Inspection Site

ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news organization, late last month unveiled the updated version of its nursing home database, Nursing Home Inspect 2.0. search.jpg

Our Coral Springs nursing home abuse lawyers know that choosing a nursing home and then following up on that facility is tough – especially if you aren’t sure where to look. We laud this effort as providing one more tool to aid in this critical endeavor.

The news agency first revealed the site back in August, but the updated version boasts a database with information on federal fines slapped against some 15,000 nursing homes in the country. Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has its own, recently-launched Nursing Home Compare site, the ProPublica site makes this information more readily accessible and also provides in-depth analysis with visual aids that put the confusing mass of information into perspective.

Those who visit the site are able to search either by facility, state, deficiency or issue of concern, such as sexual abuse or nutrition or falls. They can also access detailed information about how certain assisted living facilities did on inspection reports during the three years prior.

Additionally, the site shows you how serious and commonplace certain violations were, and whether the nursing home was ordered to pay a fine.

In Florida, of 682 nursing homes, 45 were found to have serious deficiencies. In the last three years, Florida nursing homes have paid nearly $5 million in penalties (which is nothing, when you consider this is a multi-million dollar industry). Another 23 homes were penalized by having new admissions payment suspended.

In Coral Springs, a nursing home on Royal Palm Boulevard is noted to have deficiencies in the following areas:
–The development of policies that would prevent mistreatment, neglect or abuse of residents or theft of residents’ property;
–Provide necessary services and care to maintain the highest standard of well-being for each resident.
–Store, cook and serve food in a clean and safe way;
–Have a licensed pharmacist review each resident’s medication and report any irregularities to the attending physician;
–Maintain drug records and properly mark and label drugs according to accepted professional standards.

What’s great about the site too is that it tells you, specifically, what occurred for the facility to have obtained the deficiency, how widespread each violation is within the facility and how serious it is. In this case, none of these violations reached the most serious range, but only because no one was actually seriously hurt. The potential, however, was certainly there.

All total in Florida, some 9,250 violations have been reported in all.

The average fine in Florida was reportedly $18,000, though there was a wide range from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars per case.

Another thing that this site points out is the disparity in some of these cases. For example, a nursing home in Central Florida had 27 deficiencies over the course of three years and was fined a total of $135,000. But meanwhile, another nursing home nearby had 30 deficiencies of basically equal severity – and has paid no fines at all.

The disparity is even greater state-to-state. The average national fine is $11,400. In Florida, it’s $18,000. In Washington state, it’s $90,400. In Washington D.C., it’s $4,500.

What this tells us is that even simply looking at the state and federal reports alone won’t give you an entirely accurate depiction of conditions in a given facility.

The sad fact is you won’t be able to predict or prevent every incidence of abuse or neglect. But through extensive research and ongoing vigilance, you can certainly try. Our Coral Springs nursing home abuse lawyers are committed to fighting for the rights and protection of your loved ones and all those who reside in Florida nursing homes.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
New nursing home inspection website helps consumers make choices, Dec. 17, 2012, By Marni Jameson, Orlando Sentinel

More Blog Entries:
Nursing Home Neglect Foreshadowed By Health and Safety Violations, Dec. 11, 2012, Coral Springs Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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