Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse attorney

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A $6,000-per-day penalty imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on an Illinois nursing home was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently. The fine stemmed from a finding that the nursing home put patients in immediate jeopardy when it failed to protect them from nursing home abuse and theft. The CMS investigation also revealed the facility failed to timely report or thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse inflicted on residents, and didn’t implement policies on abuse, neglect or property theft. nursing home abuse

The appellate court ruled there was substantial evidence to support CMS’s conclusions that formed the basis for the penalty. It stemmed from a site visit by investigators with the state health department back in 2014.

There was an allegation at the time that a resident and his wife suffered emotional abuse when a female staffer approached the male resident, grabbed his face in her hands, kissed him on both cheeks and then the forehead before telling him she had always loved him. Administrators did launch an investigation into the incident, but only insofar as they questioned staff and other residents. However, they did not formally interview the resident or his wife.  Continue reading →

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While many states – including Florida – offer extensive information about abuse and neglect reports generated from care in nursing homes and hospitals, most make it very difficult to obtain information on the care in state-regulated facilities. In one example recently chronicled by the Associated Press, a man rendered severely and permanently disabled by a car accident more than a quarter century ago suffered for weeks with an infestation of maggots.nursing home neglect

According to the report, the man, who is unable to walk, talk or even breathe on his own, was helpless when the tiny larval flies invaded a hole in his throat near his breathing tube. It was the first of two such infestations he suffered, resulting in numerous hospital emergency department trips and extensive treatment. A subsequent investigation by the state revealed his caretakers neglected him for days at a time, allowing the infestation to take hold. And yet, despite the egregiousness in the lapse of care, no one might have learned anything about it had the AP not made specific and detailed requests for the information.

As noted by the reporters, it’s far simpler for a member of the public to learn about possible health code violations in a restaurant than to learn about errors or lapses in care at institutions run by the state. That kind of information could be invaluable to those searching for information about where to send a loved one who requires around-the-clock medical care.  Continue reading →

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Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, there is no denying that Medicaid is the by far the biggest funding source for care of those in U.S. nursing homes. It supports approximately three-fifths of the residents who receive care at nursing home facilities. A health care bill being weighed by lawmakers would enact significant cuts to the Medicaid program, and there is concern, as noted in a recent Op-Ed in The New York Times, that this could gut benefits for nursing home residents, which could mean their level of care could take a hit. nursing home abuse lawyer

In fact, there is concern many nursing homes, without that steady income, would be forced to shutter their doors, leaving elderly residents high-and-dry.

The American Health Care Act (passed by the House but later scuttled) would reduce Medicaid funding by $834 billion. Meanwhile, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, would still slash Medicaid funding by $772 billion by 2026. This is especially troubling considering people are living longer lives than every, with many requiring a high level of care in their last years. Almost 42 percent of nursing home patients are over the age of 85, but there are also a significant number of patients whose home-and-community-based care is covered by Medicaid as well. Because Medicaid payments for assisted living facilities has been frozen at $49 daily since 2010, many people are unable to access this option, even if they may be better-served by this than 24-7 care. The potential for these cuts would make both options much less attainable.  Continue reading →

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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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