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Nursing Home Abuse Covered Up, Ex-Workers Say

Two ex-workers at an Illinois nursing home are suing their former employer for allegedly firing them for their refusal to fabricate medical reports that would have documented instances of nursing home abuse and elder neglect. 

Some of the allegations of abuse of patients cited by the workers were investigated by the state’s department of health, which ultimately cited the nursing home for a number of safety breaches that jeopardized patients’ well-being. The facility in question houses more than 300 beds and purports to serve those who are both elderly and bed-bound, as well as those who are younger and suffer from serious mental illness and substance abuse. Some of those in the younger cohort are convicted felons involved in violent crimes. One of the plaintiff workers told The Chicago-Tribune the most vulnerable residents were not protected by the facility from some of the residents who posed a threat. He called it, “dangerous.”

Although the CEO for the facility would not talk about the specifics of the lawsuit, he denied that the nursing home ever attempted to mislead state health inspectors or alter patient records. The facility insists there was never any directive to surreptitiously change patient records. 

The government records available indicate the facility was undoubtedly troubled. Although it collected $16.5 million in Medicare and Medicaid payments and profited $1.38 million last year, the facility has been cited by health inspectors many times for patient neglect, violence against patients and unsanitary conditions.

Court records indicate that some of the federal money went directly to the CEO’s uncle, who owns many nursing homes across the country and whose business partner and son is being held without bond in Florida on federal charges for allegedly heading up a $1 billion Medicaid kickback scheme here in the Sunshine State.

Five years ago, the father-son partners sold this nursing home in Illinois plus three others in the region to the CEO and his brother-in-law. However, the nursing homes still pay real estate and consulting fees to the men accused in the kickback scheme.

Allegations of nursing home abuse, violence and neglect were made both before and after the current CEO took over. One of those instances in 2009 involved the death of a 63-year-old resident who relied on a wheelchair and was beaten to death with a chair by another resident. Local police report 16 alleged batteries and assault allegations just in the last four years, plus several reports of criminal sexual assault. Although none of those instances resulted in prosecution, one must remember that criminal cases have a high proof burden – higher than claims of civil liability. That’s why our nursing home abuse lawyers can sometimes secure a verdict even if prosecutors choose not to pursue the case in criminal court.

Among the allegations made in this employment lawsuit by the two former social workers:

A supervisor told one to lie on the chart of a female patient who was hospitalized with two black eyes and facial bruises. The worker believed she was beaten, but was instructed to indicate she had fallen. A state investigation later revealed the nursing home didn’t properly investigate her injury or the family’s complaint that she’d been attacked.

One alleges after documenting a patient’s complaint of rape, the supervisor tore up the report. A state investigation found the facility did not notify authorities or properly investigate.

One alleges a 60-year-old resident requested repeatedly to be discharged, but a supervisor told him to lie in the report and say a new facility could not be found. The state cited the nursing home for this too.

If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, our experienced attorneys can help.

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.

Additional Resources:

Ex-employees allege nursing home tried to mislead inspectors on abuse, Dec. 22, 2017, By David Jackson and Gary Marx, The Chicago Tribune

More Blog Entries:

Report: Nursing Home Residents Empowered by New Federal Rules, Jan. 17, 2017, Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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