Four nursing home workers have been arrested and the state attorney general in New York is continuing to investigate allegations the facility actively concealed abuse and neglect of vulnerable residents.
In all, there are 45 crimes listed in the indictment among the four workers, including:
- willful violation of health laws
- felony tampering with physical evidence
- falsifying business records
- criminal possession of a forged instrument
A defense attorney for two defendants at the center said most of the allegations are against one individual who was fired two years ago for bad conduct. He denied a cover-up occurred.
However the state attorney general tells a different story. The charges stem from two incidents that occurred in the spring of 2013. One of those, according to news sources, involved a serious medical mistake that no one noticed for a number of days.
The second incident involved an alleged case of sexual assault. There was reportedly sexual contact between a dementia patient and another resident while the pair were left unsupervised in the dining room.
When investigators with the state became aware of these incidents, they responded to the facility to conduct interviews of employees. When they did so, it was allegedly discovered part-owners of the facility eavesdropped on those conversations. It would also come to light defendants allegedly destroyed a number of electronic documents pertaining to those incidents.
This same facility received numerous citations by state investigators in the time surrounding these incidents of nursing home abuse. Between 2011 and 2014, the facility was cited for things like failing to ensure clinical records met professional standards, and failing to make sure residents were free from abuse.
In all, there were 37 deficiencies reported in the home during that time frame. Meanwhile, the state average was reportedly 34. Not a huge difference, but criminal charges indicate this type of action goes on far more frequently than any of us realize.
This is not the first time nursing home management personnel have been accused of such actions. Four years ago, The Sacramento Bee wrote an investigative series on the issue of falsified nursing home records. Primarily, those instances had to do with the severity of ailments recorded in medical charts. The paper found 150 cases in which records were falsified to mask serious condition and covered up the fact that appropriate care was denied patients.
In Virginia, management of at least one facility discouraged and ignored reports of sexual abuse against residents. One administrator was accused of failing to investigate or report allegations of sexual assault involving a dozen patients from 2000 to 2008.
And in New York, a nursing home director was convicted of three felonies for directing staffers to rewrite statements to cover up circumstances surrounding the death of a patient who died after essentially starving to death when staffers failed to properly feed her.
Even though nursing homes are required by law to investigate and report allegations of abuse and neglect, many do not. They are more interested in their jobs than the well-being of their patients.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys in Broward County are dedicated to a thorough investigation of our cases, and to holding these centers and employees accountable.
Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Local nursing home accused of covering up abuse, May 8, 2015, Micaela Parker, Utica Observer-Dispatch
More Blog Entries:
Nursing Home Chain With Ties to Florida Sued for Neglect by New Mexico AG, May 18, 2015, Broward Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog