Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse attorney

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Although our population as a whole is growing older, an increasing number of nursing homes are taking on younger patients. This can lead to conflict and potentially danger for those most vulnerable. hands of time

Recently on NPR Morning Edition, KRCC in Colorado explored this phenomenon, attributing the situation largely to the fact that there are very few long-term care facilities for younger people in need of constant care. These would include individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries who need around-the-clock care and assistance.

One case detailed by the station involves a man in his 40s. In 2015, he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he reportedly “head-butted a car” and “scrambled the old brain bucket” (those are his own words). Today, he struggles with speech. Daily tasks are a challenge. He spent several months in a nursing home, where the majority of residents were over the age of 65. However, he was one of a growing number of under-65 residents at the facility. This is not an isolated phenomenon, and we see it in Florida too.  Continue reading →

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For a brief moment last year, it seemed as if nursing home arbitration agreements might be a thing of the past. That’s because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule barring any nursing home that accepts federal money from CMS (which is virtually all nursing homes) from requiring mandatory arbitration agreements during the admissions process. That was supposed to take effect in November. courtroom

However, a federal judge in Mississippi granted an injunction against implementation of that rule, at the request of a nursing home industry trade group. The CMS quietly released a memo in December indicating it wouldn’t enforce the arbitration rule so long as the injunction was in place. At this point, there remains uncertainty because it isn’t clear how the Trump administration, which oversees CMS, will handle this issue.

So in the meanwhile, courts across the country continue to weigh in. Prior to the injunction, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that an arbitration agreement signed by an adult son on behalf of his father was not binding on his father. The son did not have power of attorney and thus lacked authority to sign the documents on his father’s behalf, and thus his father wasn’t required to have his claim handled by an arbitrator.  Continue reading →

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State lawmakers in Texas haven’t given up the fight to hold accountable nursing homes that provide substandard care. It will be the second time state lawmakers are making the effort, after a failed bid two years ago. holdinghands

The push involves three bills that would make it more difficult for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, such as assisted living facilities and home community service agencies, to cower from regulatory discipline and litigation when wrongdoing has been uncovered.

One measure involves imposing higher fines on facilities where inspectors have discovered serious violations that breach the care and safety of residents. Another measure would do away with the so-called “right to correct,” a legal loophole that gives many nursing homes an out in avoiding disciplinary action if administrators “correct” the violation after it’s discovered upon inspection. The final measure would require nursing home facilities to carry at least $1 million in liability insurance, which would make it easier for victims and loved ones to recover damages in the event the facility is found liable of nursing home abuse, neglect or negligence.  Continue reading →

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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. sad

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.  Continue reading →

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Following the enactment of a new federal rule that prohibits the enforcement of arbitration agreements by nursing homes that accept federal funding (virtually all of them), a group of nursing home operators and industry trade groups are challenging the rule. Interestingly, they are doing so through the very avenue of recourse they are seeking to deny nursing home abuse and neglect victims: A lawsuit. gavel

In case you aren’t familiar with arbitration, it is procedure whereby legal disagreements and disputes are resolved by an arbitrator rather than a judge. The process is often secretive and arbitrators, rewarded handsomely with contracts from large nursing home corporations, often decide cases in favor of the companies. Even when the terms are more or less favorable to the plaintiff, damages awarded are often a fraction of what they would be had the matter been resolved in court. Arbitration agreements are binding contracts that patients and family members enter into by signing documents often buried in nursing home admission paperwork.

The lawsuit, American Health Care Assn. et al v. Burwell et al, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division. The lawsuit, which names the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), labels the arbitration clause ban as capricious and arbitrary. The measure also contests the authority of CMS to act as a regulatory agency calling the shots on how nursing homes handle disputes. Plaintiffs in the litigation are asking the federal court to, at the very least, delay the enactment of the ban (the rest of the rule solidifies as law this month) while the court weighs the challenge by the industry group.  Continue reading →

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A $2 million settlement agreed upon by government regulators and a nursing home in Pennsylvania will resolve allegations of violating consumer protection statutes by not providing adequate services to nursing home patients, as promised in marketing materials and advertisements. old

The state’s attorney general announced the settlement, which involved a company called Reliant Senior Care Holdings Inc., which was accused of skimping on necessary staffing levels needed to ensure the basic needs of residents would be met at the firm’s nearly two dozen skilled nursing facilities throughout Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the company failed to deliver on its promise of making sure residents’ individualized needs were met and that personalized service was provided.

So low were the staffing levels at some of these nursing homes, according to the attorney general, that basic, life-sustaining functions – eating, drinking, daily hygiene and incontinence care – were not met on a daily basis.  Continue reading →

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A wealthy nursing home operator with mansions in Miami and Los Angeles is the subject of a U.S. Justice Department investigation and prosecution that alleges he orchestrated a Medicare and Medicaid bribery and kickback scheme totaling losses of more than $1 billion. Authorities in July stated it was the largest single criminal health care fraud case ever filed against an individual by the DOJ. handcuffs

Now, the subject of that investigation, Philip Esformes, is fighting to be released on bond, as federal authorities are placing enormous pressure on the courts to keep him locked up in South Florida, where he was arrested at one of his Miami Beach waterfront estates this summer. Although the court has been bombarded with letters of support for Esformes, some of which have included receipts related to his many philanthropic efforts, he remains at the Miami Federal Detention Center.

Authorities say Esformes and his father siphoned millions of taxpayer dollars every single year from federal programs intended to aid the sick and disabled over the course of 14 years. The pair had nursing homes across the country, including about 20 in Florida. According to the latest federal indictment, he and his co-conspirators took money from these federal programs in the name of some 14,000 patients at various facilities. In many cases, federal authorities allege, patients were given treatment that wasn’t necessary and in some cases was actually harmful. Continue reading →

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Despite forceful calls by House Democrats and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) for a ban on mandatory nursing home arbitration agreements earlier this year, the new proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) doesn’t contain any such provision.

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The agency has toyed with requiring such a measure in the past, but it’s most recent proposed rule, while acknowledging “concerns” about forced arbitration, doesn’t go so far as to ban it.

This move was sharply criticized by The New York Times’ Editorial Board in an opinion titled, “Nursing Home Residents Still Vulnerable to Abuse.” Continue reading →

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Police in Lantana have arrested an 87-year-old nursing home resident after a staffer reportedly walked in on him performing oral sex on a 94-year-old male resident at the facility. The alleged victim suffers from Parkinson’s disease and was not able to answer the staff or police questions beyond unintelligible responses. Despite this, the suspect reportedly told staffers the alleged victim “wanted him to” do what he was doing. oldhands2

Nursing home administrators, while declining to talk to reporters about the incident, did say that the media had, “blown the incident out of proportion.”

When it comes to sexual assault of an elderly, disabled victim, it’s hard to imagine making it a bigger deal than it is. The reality is that if these allegations are true, the facility failed in its responsibility to properly supervise residents, particularly where the alleged perpetrator was known to be “oversexed” and had gotten in trouble in the past for groping both staffers and other patients. Continue reading →

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We all know nursing home abuse is far too common in elder care facilities across the U.S. But a new study suggests it’s not only the staffers that residents and their families have to fear. handsoftime

Reuters reports that researchers with Weill Cornell Medicine revealed the startling commonality of resident-on-resident nursing home abuse.

Of the 2,011 nursing home residents they tracked, 407 had been involved in at least one incident of abuse that involved another resident over the course of four weeks. That’s right, in just one month, 1 in every 5 residents suffered a resident-on-resident abuse incident.

Many of these cases involved verbal taunts, which were to blame in nearly half of the reported cases. However, physical assaults comprised 26 percent of the reported incidents. What’s more, these were only the incidents that were reported to researchers. There may be many more about which we do not know. Continue reading →

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