Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse

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Florida’s First District Court of Appeal upheld action from Gov. Rick Scott to shutter a Broward County nursing home that garnered national attention last year following a dozen deaths in the wake of Hurricane Irma.nursing home abuse

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued an immediate moratorium on admissions that blocked the already-evacuated facility from accepting any new residents. The government regulator issued an immediate final suspension order, suspending the facility’s center in the Medicaid program, as well as a suspension order, suspending the facility’s license to operate.

Fighting back with a series of petitions challenging those orders, the facility asserted that each failed to provide sufficient specific factual allegations justifying emergency action. They also alleged the AHCA failed to provide the appropriate administrative hearing. The appellate court ruled the challenge to the immediate moratorium on admissions to the facility was moot in light of the subsequent emergency suspension order which halted the facility’s license to operate, and that the orders to suspend the facility’s access to Medicaid as well as license to operate were sufficiently supported by fact. Further, the court rejected the facility’s argument that it was not given the proper opportunity for a hearing because the record didn’t demonstrate that the facility requested a hearing.  Continue reading →

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A new analysis of data culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a bleak picture for the workers we entrust with the care of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and in turn raises questions about how their care might be impacted. nursing home injury

The federal agency’s newest release of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private employers indicated approximately 2.9 million workers were injured annually in 2016, which represents a rate of 2.9 cases for every 100 full-time employers. State-operated nursing and residential care facilities had a rate of workplace injuries and illnesses that, on average, was about 13.7 cases per 100 full-time workers. That’s an increase from 12 per 100 just a year earlier. Privately-owned skilled nursing facilities, meanwhile, as well as those operated by local governments reported injury rates that were 6.5 and 6.1, respectively. In total, skilled nursing facilities in all three categories reported nearly 260,000 work-related injuries and illnesses that year, with nearly 112,000 of those workers requiring days away from work, job transfers or job restrictions on the kind of work they could do. This reflects research released in 2012 by RTI International that 60 percent of nursing assistants in nursing homes incur some type of occupational injuries, ranging from back injuries to black eyes to bites and physical violence.

That raises substantial questions about not only what needs to be done to ensure these workers are healthy, but about the quality of care patients are receiving. For instance, many nursing homes are already understaffed as it is, and the problem is worsening as the population ages. When a worker is forced to take leave or work on restricted duty because of an injury, it means there is even less staff to care for patients’ day-to-day needs.  Continue reading →

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Nursing home abuse is often characterized as mistreatment of a vulnerable, elderly resident at the hands of caregivers and other staffers. However, about one in five nursing home abuse incidents involve other residents. One study published in 2016 revealed verbal taunts, physical assaults and sexual assaults were all part of the abuse those residents suffered at the hands of other residents.nursing home abuse

We saw it recently here in Florida, when The Gainesville Sun reported one facility was forced to halt admissions after two fatal incidents, one a fall and another the brutal beating of an 86-year-old resident by a 52-year-old resident with a traumatic brain injury. The younger man reportedly knocked the older man to the ground – twice – and over a two-minute stretch, while no staffers were anywhere in sight, the younger man pummeled the older victim no fewer than 56 times. The catalyst for the fight, according to news reports, was that the younger man believed the older resident had eaten his cupcake.

At the time of the incident, no staff member was attending to residents in that unit and there was no one in charge of monitoring video surveillance for that unit. By the time the staff finally got there, the beating was over. That particular 45-bed facility has a long history of resident safety violations over the last five years. Two administrators were arrested in late 2015 in separate incidents reportedly involving patient neglect. After the beating and the fatal fall, an administrator reportedly broke down while being interviewed by police, telling investigators she was “overwhelmed,” had a short staff and the employees she did have were poorly trained.  Continue reading →

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The Government Accountability Office issued a report recently that addressed instances of abuse, neglect, exploitation and other types of harm that occurred by Medicaid-funded assisted living facilities. nursing home injury lawyer

The report, “Medicaid Assisted Living Services: Improved Federal Oversight of Beneficiary Health and Welfare is Needed,” the GAO indicated that both federal and state Medicaid agencies are failing in endeavors of effective monitoring of assisted living facilities – meaning residents are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect. This 52-page report was long-anticipated, and it underscores the lack of enforcement when it comes to baseline standards expected of assisted living facilities and their care of older residents.

The first problem that more than half of state Medicaid service agencies were unable to reveal the nature or number of “critical incidents” that occurred in these facilities. Three of them aren’t even monitoring deaths that are unexplained or unexpected. Eight states don’t track suspected criminal activity by nursing home staffers, seven don’t track medication errors and five don’t track injuries that result in hospitalization.  Continue reading →

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Nursing home safety advocates are calling on Florida lawmakers to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee certain rights to vulnerable residents in nursing homes and assisted living centers.nursing home injury

An incident of nursing home negligence in Orlando last year – resulting in a recently announced $1 million fine by federal authorities – is the latest to spark discussion of the need for such change. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the facility assigned a single assistant to supervise a trip to a local super store with nine residents – all of whom required around-the-clock care, five of whom were in wheelchairs and three who used walkers. One needed the bathroom but the assistant was nowhere to be found, so the man attempted it on his own. He ultimately lost control of his bowels and his balance, suffering a broken hip. When the attendant rushed to aid the man,  he neglected the others.

It was this incident (along with another wherein a patient did not receive important medical treatment) that resulted in a government investigation and subsequent fine. Nearly two dozen health code violations were cited, and the facility earned a spot on the national watch list of facilities that don’t correct repeat issues. Despite the fine, advocates for safer nursing homes say it doesn’t go far enough. They want a formal bill of rights added to the constitution, where it could not be easily rolled back by lawmakers or future presidential administrations squeezed or swayed by nursing home industry lobbyists and stakeholders.

One of those calling for change leads a national nursing home advocacy group, and says the public is largely unaware about the way these facilities are run and the risk they pose to residents. He noted it’s telling that even 12 nursing home resident deaths of heat-related illness after Hurricane Irma – all classified as homicides – were not enough to spur industry change. The facility may yet lose its license and Gov. Rick Scott has asked the facilities to maintain backup generators that can provide at nearly 100 hours of fuel so temperatures can stay at a safe level in the event the power goes out for an extended time. The governor has also asked for the panel that combs the state’s constitution every two decades for a determination potential changes pertaining to the protection of nursing home residents. Proposal 88 is now being considered by the commission and is the public hearings stage. If the panel approves it, the issue then goes to voters this fall.  Continue reading →

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Florida is known to have some of the broadest public records laws in the country. That extended to nursing home abuse and neglect records, kept by state health regulators. However, as The Miami Herald recently reported, those records have been wiped from the state’s online database, in what appears to be an erosion in public records access. nursing home abuse

Approximately three months ago, The Herald reported, the state scrubbed its website, which previously made readily accessible reports of nursing home violations that put residents in immediate jeopardy. It’s not that the records themselves are no longer public. Anyone can contact the Agency for Health Care Administration and ask for it. However, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for and whom to ask. You will most likely be required to wait and you’ll probably have to pay – something that was not required previously under the state’s online system.

On the pages that previously provided such information for free, the AHCA now directs the public to a different site run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That site fails to provide as much detail as the AHCA had before (though all reports had been screened and redacted for medical privacy). And while the AHCA does offer basic spreadsheets that rank nursing homes on a host of criteria, providing families with some basis on which to compare, but these reports are scant on details and lack transparency. Continue reading →

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Nursing home facilities have a responsibility to ensure that staffers are adequately screened, trained and supervised. It appears, at least according to a six-month investigation by journalists in Northern Texas, that hundreds of certified nursing assistants with serious or violent criminal histories have been hired to care for elderly and vulnerable patients in the region’s nursing homes.nursing home abuse lawyer

Further, the report by WFAA-8 revealed many of these individuals were working in the homes legally. There were, however, several instances in which the nursing assistants were convicted of certain offenses that should have made them ineligible to work in that capacity, yet they were hired anyway. All of this, advocates fear, is putting residents at risk of nursing home abuse.

Some of the crimes for which the CNAs were convicted included things like continuous violence against family, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated sexual contact with a child and injury to a child. Other crimes included offenses that involved theft, like burglary and aggravated robbery. The analysis also indicated Texas’ rate of nursing home abuse was four times that of the national average. Still, to assume this problem is isolated to Texas would be erroneous.  Continue reading →

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Numerous nursing homes in Florida are still non-compliant with a new rule that requires facilities to prove they can run generators for four days without power and keep inside temperatures at 80 degrees or less. It required that nursing homes submit their plans to the state by Oct. 31st and be in compliance with the rule by Nov. 15th, or else begin incurring a $1,000-a-day fine. nursing home negligence

Emergency Rule 59AER17-1 is under legal challenge, but the rule is intended to prevent nursing home deaths like more than a dozen that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Irma, when facilities were without power. Those residents all died of heat-related causes when the facility in which they were housed did not have a working generator to keep the residents safe from the South Florida swelter.

As of Nov. 8th, there were still 18 facilities that had yet to offer up proof of compliance with the rule.  Continue reading →

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A pair of emergency rules requiring Florida assisted living facilities and nursing homes to be equipped with generators to effectively cool and fuel buildings for 96 hours has been struck down by an Administrative Law Judge. Gov. Rick Scott promised to appeal the court order immediately.nursing home wrongful death

The judge handed down a 66-page ruling, wherein he stated the state had failed to establish it was necessary to increase the self-sufficiency of nursing homes and assisted living facility sites in the event of an emergency.

The judge went on to explain in the order that the remedy for this emergency deficit cannot reasonably be enacted by the deadline of Nov. 15th. Scott railed against the order, saying the judge’s legal reasoning was short-sighted. He vowed to appeal the order and continue working to make the rules permanent. Continue reading →

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Elder financial abuse is a serious and growing problem in nursing homes across the country. Most often, it’s classified as an issue that occurs when a caregiver – usually a family member – takes advantage of the elderly person’s trust or position of need. However, it happens in nursing home facilities too where a company misrepresents the quality of care to patients, prospective patients, family members and government agencies that pay for this care. nursing home abuse

Recently in California, four residents living in residential care facilities owned by a single chain provider sued the company’s founder and developer, alleging fraudulent practices that exposed them to risk of injury and deprived them of necessary care.

According to the Press-Democrat, the lawsuit alleges residents were discovered on the ground, left soiled for hours at a time and at least one suffered an unexplained injury due to perpetual understaffing that amounted to fraud. The company reportedly misrepresented the care it was providing residents when it came time to collecting federal healthcare benefits for those patients. Further, the facility fees, which in some cases were $10,000 per resident per moth, were based on budgets crafted to rake in the highest profits, rather than assess the individual needs of each resident.  Continue reading →

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