Federal authorities are suing a nursing home system alleging the company committed fraud by filing false claims to both Medicare and the state-based TennCare (in Tennessee) on behalf of senior residents. Even as these facilities were being compensated for a litany of specialized services, they were not extending even the most basic level of care to residents, authorities say.
The Tennessean reports residents suffered a host of injuries, ailments and injustices, including:
- Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores)
- Improper feeding
The lawsuit alleges these incidents were systemic and occurred in at least six different facilities throughout Tennessee, in Murfreesboro, Nashville, Shelbyville, Madison, Manchester and Memphis.
Five of these facilities reportedly doled out extremely sub-standard care, which included problems with chronic under-staffing and regularly running out of necessary medical supplies. This led to all sorts of other problems, including:
- Not providing standard infection control;
- Residents not receiving the medications that were prescribed to them by their doctors;
- Patients not receiving proper wound care, as ordered by their doctors;
- Patients suffering unnecessary pain because the nursing home failed to properly manage that pain;
- Providing psychotropic medications that were both unnecessary and excessive (using them as a “chemical restraint”), putting patients at risk of heart ailments;
- Using physical restraints on patients that were both unnecessary and dangerous.
To be clear, these are just allegations at this point and nursing home officials vehemently deny any wrongdoing. However, there is some pretty substantial evidence to support these claims, which are detailed in a 143-page inspection report by state investigators. That report was released three years ago.
One of the heart-wrenching cases detailed by inspectors involves the observation of a dying man who was grimacing and moaning in great pain. His family had earlier dropped off his pain medication after picking up the prescription from the physician. Yet the nursing home denied administering that medication to the patient because they couldn’t locate it. There were numerous other instances in which patients got their medicine hours after they were supposed to or, in some cases, in the wrong doses. In other cases, they received their doses far too soon.
In another instance of alleged nursing home neglect, a patient wandered off outside the facility in near-freezing weather at around 3:30 a.m. There was another case in which a resident went hungry because a worker only realized his meal had been missed when it was the end of the worker’s shift, and he didn’t have time to feed him before he clocked out. Yet no one else was informed that the man’s meal had been missed.
The health department was called in one day in May 2012 after a physician reported he was never informed of the deteriorating condition of a patient. That patient soon after died.
As these conditions went on, the nursing home facilities – and their administrator – continued to collect federal and state funds. Those funds meant that, at minimum, they were to provide a basic level of care for these residents. As example after example shows, however, that wasn’t happening.
The company ultimately filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Feds: Patients suffered in nursing home fraud case, Sept. 7, 2016, By Jordan Buie, The Tennessean
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Olson v. Florida Living Options – Assisted Living Arbitration Agreement Can’t Protect Linked Nursing Home, Sept. 15, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Blog