Archive for the ‘Nursing Home’ Category

Nursing home company to pay $48M in settlement

November 20, 2013

A California company that runs nursing homes in 10 states has agreed to pay $48 million to resolve claims that it submitted inflated bills to Medicare for services that either were unnecessary or never performed, authorities said Tuesday.

The settlement reached with The Ensign Group Inc. was unsealed late Monday by a judge in Los Angeles and resolves a pair of whistle-blower lawsuits filed by two former company employees, federal prosecutors said.

“This settlement — one of the largest of its kind in United States history — demonstrates our commitment to protecting taxpayers who fund important programs that benefit millions of Americans, but don’t want to see their hard-earned money wasted on fraud or abuse,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.

Ensign did not admit liability as part of the settlement. In a statement released last month, Ensign CEO Christopher Christensen said the company, based in Orange County, will continue to enhance its compliance program and will strive to provide high-quality health care services.

Ensign is accused of turning in false Medicare claims for more than a decade at six of its skilled-nursing facilities in Southern California. Authorities said the claims for physical, occupational and speech therapy services were not medically necessary and some patients were kept in the nursing homes longer than they needed to be.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing home company to pay $48M in settlement

Nursing Homes are the Most Dangerous Workplaces in America, Government Data Shows

November 14, 2013

Nursing homes had the highest rate of workplace injury and illness in 2012, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last year’s illness and injury incidence rate for private sector nursing and residential care facilities was 7.3%, the BLS reported . This was the highest overall, and it far eclipsed the illness and injury rates for workplaces that might seem more dangerous. The rate for miners (except oil and gas) was 2.7%, and the rate for construction was 3.6%.

Many nursing facility injuries occur when workers move residents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a campaign to reduce the number of musculoskeletal injuries sustained by long-term care workers, and the American Nurses Association is seeking to eliminate manual handling of residents. A bill in the House of Representatives,introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), would institute protections for nursing home staff.

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Nursing Homes are the Most Dangerous Workplaces in America, Government Data Shows

California sued over lagging nursing home inspections

November 10, 2013

A Sacramento advocate for the elderly is suing the state for allegedly endangering vulnerable residents by failing to promptly investigate nursing home complaints, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Francisco.

The suit, brought by the Sacramento-based Foundation Aiding the Elderly, accuses state regulators of “taking months and sometimes years” to complete investigations of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the lawsuit names the California Department of Public Health and two top administrators.

“This is jeopardizing all patients,” said Carole Herman, president of FATE. “The industry is not afraid of the regulators, they are so lax in their responsibilities.”

Corey Egel, spokesman for the Department of Public Health, said the department could not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit, filed by the Lexington Law Group, a San Francisco public interest law firm, seeks a court order requiring the state to “complete complaint investigations and the complaint appeal process in a timely manner.” The lawsuit asks the court to impose deadlines or enforce existing ones on the complaint process. And, it asks that the court compel the department to prepare an annual report detailing the timeliness of its complaint investigations.

Herman said she pursued legal action because “it’s the only way the state is going to pay attention.”

The lawsuit cites Herman’s personal experiences with the department in filing complaints on behalf of nursing-home clients. One case filed by Herman in October 2011, which involves “serious allegations of negligent medical treatment,” remains unresolved, the lawsuit states. Two other investigations involving “serious allegations of sexual and/or physical abuse against an elder” have been pending since February 2012, according to the suit.

According to the lawsuit, the delays endanger residents and make it less likely a facility’s underlying problems will be addressed. The issues raised often need to be resolved quickly, before more harm can occur, witnesses’ memories fade – or witnesses die, the suit states.

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California sued over lagging nursing home inspections

Do Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements Force Consumers to Sign Away Legal Rights?

November 9, 2013

Arbitration agreements in long-term care contracts are harming consumers and eroding the U.S. civil justice system, according to a prominent association of trial lawyers.

When people sign a contract with a forced arbitration provision, they are often unwittingly giving up their right to a jury trial and other legal processes related to dispute resolution. This creates a “David vs. Goliath” situation in which the consumer is David — and, in this version of the story, David rarely wins when conflicts arise with the Goliaths of large nursing home companies or other corporations. This is according to a recently released report from the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America).

Proponents of arbitration agreements say they are a safeguard against frivolous lawsuits, but the practice has generated controversy. The AAJ strenuously objects in its report.

“If you or a family member must enter a long-term care facility, you have little choice about agreeing to a forced arbitration clause at admission,” the report states.

It describes some cases of alleged nursing home negligence and abuse that have been thrown out because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Federal Arbitration Act prevents states from implementing policies such as excluding wrongful death claims from forced arbitration.

The report harshly criticizes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for pushing a pro-arbitration agenda. It registers firm support for a proposed measure in Congress that would stop some of the practices that the AAJ characterizes as abusive.

READ:  License to Steal:  How the US Chamber Forced Arbitration on America

Nursing home arbitration agreements force consumers to ‘sign away legal rights,’ trial lawyers argue

Cooks, Caregivers Struggled to Aid Abandoned Care Home Patients

November 2, 2013

Maurice Rowland knew that the closure notice stuck on the front door of his workplace meant the assisted-living residential facility was to be closed Thursday night because of a license revocation.

But why, he wondered, were 19 of the center’s 32 residents still there – some with Alzheimer’s, others with what he believed to be schizophrenia, all of them hungry and wanting dinner.

Almost all the caregivers had left. The manager and owners were nowhere to be found. Rowland was the cook, hired three months earlier to prepare meals for the residents at Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley.

“I didn’t know what was going on, but I couldn’t just leave them there,” Rowland said Tuesday from his Hayward home. “We had built a friendship. So I did the best I could.”

Over the next 40 hours, Rowland and two caregivers – none of whom had been scheduled to work or asked by management to stay – frantically cooked, cleaned and bathed the residents, gave them their medications, and helped them in and out of their beds and wheelchairs. But they were in over their heads, and there were medication foul-ups. Residents became ill, and Rowland and the caregivers called 911 six or seven times, he said, before emergency responders finally took the last of the residents Saturday.

Full Article and Source:
Cook, Caregivers Struggled to Aid Center’s Residents

See Also:
Castro Valley Care Home Patients Abandoned

Oklahoma: New Nursing Home Hidden Camera Law Begins Today!

November 1, 2013

Oklahoma is one of the worst states when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a national study conducted by a nonprofit elder advocacy group.

On its report card, Families for Better Care gave the state an “F” rating.
Proponents of a new law hope hidden cameras will change that. 
Undercover cameras caught two caretakers abusing 96-year-old Eryetha Mayberry at an Oklahoma City nursing home. Police arrested the two women shown in the undercover video — Caroline Kaseke and Lucy Gakunga.
Kaseke bonded out of jail and has not shown up for court, authorities said. There’s currently a warrant out for her arrest.
The video prompted legislation allowing hidden cameras to be installed in nursing homes statewide.
It was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in May and goes into effect on Nov. 1.

Full Article and Source:
New Nursing Home Hidden Camera Law Begins Friday

3 ex-CNAs won’t serve jail time in elderly patient-abuse case at Johnson City nursing home

September 16, 2013

Three former CNAs who admitted spraying two Appalachian Christian Village nursing home patients with water to agitate them were denied judicial diversion, but won’t serve any jail time.

A fourth woman was granted diversion because she didn’t participate in the abuse. She was charged because even though she didn’t participate, she saw the abuse on one occasion and didn’t report it.

Rebecca Blevins, 39; Jessica Ketterman, 22; and Jennifer Ketterman, 20, all of Elizabethton, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of willful abuse, neglect or exploitation of a dependent adult. Blevins was not eligible for diversion due to previous bad check convictions. At that same hearing, Amanda Adolphi, 33, Gray, pleaded guilty to failure to report the abuse.

In the plea agreements, the women were each given an 11 month, 29 day sentence, which will be served on probation. Adolphi was the only one granted diversion. After her year of probation, the conviction can be erased from her record.

A fifth woman, Bonita Scott, 51, Chuckey, was also charged in the incident, but she pleaded guilty to her case shortly after being charged.

“This case tears me up,” said Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood. “We have over here four, probably very nice people, who have been contributing members of society. It’s inscrutable.”

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3 ex-CNAs won’t serve jail time in elderly patient-abuse case at Johnson City nursing home

Nursing assistant to go on trial for murder

September 9, 2013

BRATTLEBORO — A judge has rejected an 11th-hour move by a former Brattleboro nursing assistant, charged with murdering one of her nursing home patients, to dismiss most of the charges.

Judge David Suntag rejected the motion from Jodi LaClaire’s attorney, Daniel Sedon, who was seeking to have related financial exploitation charges dismissed.

Suntag’s decision sets the stage for LaClaire’s murder trial to begin Monday in Brattleboro criminal court.

LaClaire, 39, formerly of Bennington, N.H., faces charges of second-degree murder, elder abuse and seven counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She is accused of injecting 85-year-old Nita Lowery of Brattleboro with a fatal dose of insulin on March 23, 2009 — medicine Lowery had never taken in her life.

According to pre-trial information from medical experts, the insulin injection left Lowery brain dead.

Lowery’s cause of death on April 1, 2009, was hypoglycemia, or extremely low blood sugar.

Court records say that in the early morning hours of March 23, LaClaire tried to use Lowery’s credit card as Lowery lay dying in her nursing home room.

LaClaire is also charged with accessing Lowery’s financial accounts in the weeks following Lowery’s death, pocketing about $4,000.

Sedon, in a motion filed last week, had asked that all of the financial charges against his client be dismissed. He argued that two necessary legal elements were missing from many of the charges against LaClaire.

But Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle criticized Sedon’s reasoning in his response to the motion. He said that by Sedon’s reading of the elderly exploitation statute, there was no crime involved by LaClaire using a dead woman’s credit card.

“He argues that if a person willfully uses funds of a vulnerable adult, without legal authority, for wrongful profit, no crime has been committed, and that, similarly, if a person willfully acquires possession of an interest in funds of a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, no crime has been committed,” Doyle wrote.

Sedon had argued that the language of the state law was flawed, and that the state’s charges “do not contain a plain, concise and definite written statement” of an alleged crime.

Sedon argued that in order for a crime to have been committed, the state had to allege that not only had funds been used by an unauthorized person, but that the acquisition of the funds was by ‘‘wrongful means.”

LaClaire was the only nursing assistant on Lowery’s floor that night, court records stated.

According to court records, LaClaire had financial problems, mostly medical bills from Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, N.H. There were also records of LaClaire selling pieces of jewelry at a pawn shop in Massachusetts.

In late August, the state dropped nine of the financial exploitation and attempted financial exploitation counts against LaClaire, leaving seven in place.

Doyle noted that he would not present evidence about another patient at Thompson House, the Brattleboro nursing home where LaClaire worked. That patient also ended up in the emergency room with extremely low blood sugar, a sign of an insulin overdose.

Like Lowery, “T.I.” did not take insulin and was not a diabetic. “T.I.” was hospitalized and recovered from her severely low blood sugar, but died 10 months later from natural causes, court records stated.

According to court records, LaClaire herself is a diabetic and used injectable insulin.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing assistant to go on trial for murder

Nursing Home Reality Blog

August 17, 2013

A visitor to this blog shared the following comment a few days ago. I think her comment speaks directly to the issue of corporate greed and that leads to both the neglect of nursing home residents as well as mistreatment of nursing staff. A nurse wrote:

“At one time I worked in a nursing home that was so understaffed that I dreaded work every day. I provided care to 24 residents at one time (on a unit with a total of 48 residents).

On my shift there were just two CNAs and two nurses for 48 residents.

One time I was forced to work while having the flu and a 102 degree fever. Management told me that I would be fired if I didn’t report to work and they would demand the state revoke my licence for abandonment. It is really sad what happens in these nursing homes.”


Man’s Death After Confrontation With Police Ruled a Homicide

July 31, 2013

The Victory Centre of Park Forest
Saturday’s death of a 95-year-old nursing home resident who was shocked by a Taser and struck with bean bag rounds during a confrontation with police has been ruled a homicide by officials in the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An autopsy showed John Warna died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen from being hit with the bean bags.

Officials at the Victory Centre of Park Forest, the south suburban home where Warna lived, said the man was displaying “unusually aggressive behavior” on Friday evening. When police arrived, they said Warna was threatening paramedics and staff with a cane and a metal shoehorn.

Police said they struck him with a Taser and bean bag rounds after he threatened officers with a 12-inch butcher knife.
Full Article and Source:

Man’s Death After Confrontation With Police Ruled a Homicide