Archive for the ‘Nursing Homes’ Category

Thefts from nursing home trust funds target the elderly

October 18, 2013

The administrator at the Vicksburg Convalescent Center knew something was wrong when she saw the receipt: a $90 debit from a resident’s trust fund account for a pair of designer jeans.

Of all the elderly residents at the 100-bed nursing home, Amy Brown figured, this one was especially unlikely to spend his savings on pricey pants.

Both of his legs had been amputated.

Brown pored over the trust fund books. There were receipts to back up every charge, so audits had found nothing amiss. But she spotted “receipts for things I knew the residents wouldn’t buy” — North Face jackets and Ugg boots, hair dryers and makeup, even a baseball bat. “I felt sick,” Brown recalls.
Suspicions fell on Lee Martin, an office staffer at the Mississippi facility and an affiliated nursing home across town. Martin was charged in 2012 with billing $101,000 in personal expenses to the trust accounts of 83 residents at the two facilities. She pleaded guilty in August to multiple counts of exploitation of vulnerable adults.

“These (residents) are vulnerable; the nursing home is supposed to take care of them,” says Phyllis Foster, 67, whose 89-year-old mother-in-law had funds embezzled by Martin. “I was surprised there wasn’t more oversight.”

Thousands of residents in U.S. nursing homes and other long-term care institutions for the aged and disabled have had their personal savings raided or mismanaged after relying on the facilities to safeguard the money in special trust fund accounts, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

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Thefts from nursing home trust funds target the elderly

Don’t Sign Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Homes

October 4, 2013

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Don’t Sign Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Homes

Advocacy Group Publishes Nation’s First-Ever, State-By-State Nursing Home Report Card

September 6, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, FL) – Families for Better Care, a Florida-based nursing home resident advocacy group, published the first-ever state-by-state nursing home report card.

The group scored, ranked and graded states on eight different federal quality measures ranging from the percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies to the number of hours frontline caregivers averaged per resident per day.

“We’re excited about getting this report into the hands of public officials, nursing home owners, advocates, and—most importantly—residents and their families,” said Brian Lee, Families for Better Care’s executive director.  “Our goal is to applaud those states that provide good care while motivating improvement for those that score poorly.”

Top nursing home states included Alaska, Rhode Island and New Hampshire while Texas, Louisiana and Indiana hit rock bottom.

“A distinctive trend differentiated the good states from the bad states,” Lee exclaimed.  “States whose nursing homes staffed at higher levels ranked far better than those with fewer staffing hours.”

Three states (Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine) scored “superior” grades in every staffing measure and each ranked among America’s best nursing home states.  Conversely, of those four states with failing marks (Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas) each scored below average grades.

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Advocacy Group Publishes Nation’s First-Ever, State-By-State Nursing Home Report Card

See Also:
Report Says Texas Nursing Homes Are the Worst in the Country, And This Video Might Just Convince You

Disabled Plaintiffs, State Reach Deal on Living Conditions

August 23, 2013

Thousands of Texans with disabilities housed in nursing homes without access to rehabilitative care could see improved living conditions under an interim agreement reached with the state on Monday.

The class action lawsuit, filed in 2010 by disability rights advocates and six institutionalized plaintiffs between the ages of 26 and 46, alleges that Gov. Rick Perry and state social services officials have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide appropriate treatment to some 4,500 Texans living in nursing homes. 

Garth Corbett, a senior attorney with the watchdog group Disability Rights Texas and the lead attorney on the case, told the Tribune in 2010 that many of those individuals were receiving care for their disabilities at home or in the community but were mistakenly sent to nursing homes after being hospitalized for illness. Once there, he said, they were effectively trapped, since many did not have advocates or the capacity to argue for their own transfer.

Under the interim agreement, the state has committed to expanding community living options for people with intellectual disabilities; avoiding admitting individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities to a nursing facility if those people can safely live in the community instead; and devising educational activities to address community living options for affected individuals and their families. 

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Disabled Plaintiffs, State Reach Deal on Living Conditions

Elderly Abused at 1 in 3 Nursing Homes: Report

August 11, 2013

Reports of serious, physical, sexual and verbal abuse are “numerous” among the nation’s nursing homes, according to a congressional report released today.

The study, prepared by the minority (Democratic and Independent) staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, finds that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States — 5,283 facilities — were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a recent two-year period, from January 1999 to January 2001.

Common problems included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, the report said.

Many of the abuse violations caused harm to the residents, the report said.

In 1,601 cases, the abuse violations were serious enough “to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury,” it said.

“What we have found is shocking,” says Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee’s minority leader, who instructed the staff to do the study.

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Elderly Abused at 1 in 3 Nursing Homes: Report

Medicare paid $5.1B for poor nursing home care

March 1, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Medicare paid billions in taxpayer dollars to nursing homes nationwide that were not meeting basic requirements to look after their residents, government investigators have found.

The report, released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general, said Medicare paid about $5.1 billion for patients to stay in skilled nursing facilities that failed to meet federal quality of care rules in 2009, in some cases resulting in dangerous and neglectful conditions.

One out of every three times patients wound up in nursing homes that year, they landed in facilities that failed to follow basic care requirements laid out by the federal agency that administers Medicare, investigators estimated.

By law, nursing homes need to write up care plans specially tailored for each resident, so doctors, nurses, therapists and all other caregivers are on the same page about how to help residents reach the highest possible levels of physical, mental and psychological well-being.

Not only are residents often going without the crucial help they need, but the government could be spending taxpayer money on facilities that could endanger people’s health, the report concluded. The findings come as concerns about health care quality and cost are garnering heightened attention as the Obama administration implements the nation’s sweeping health care overhaul.

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Medicare paid $5.1B for poor nursing home care

WI: New State Law Conceals Records of Abuse, Neglect in Nursing Homes

February 18, 2013

Wahl has spina bifida, is brain damaged and paralyzed from the chest down. At age 32, he lived at a group home in Menomonie, where he loved coloring and going on picnics, said his mother, Karen Nichols-Palmerton.

One evening in October 2011, she visited the home and found her son’s room empty.

Wahl had been rushed to the hospital for treatment of a bedsore so severe that doctors feared he would be permanently bedridden.

A state health department investigation report later found he had the bedsore for four months before being hospitalized.

But the staff who cared for Wahl never sought medical attention for his wound, state investigation records show. And the facility never told the state or Nichols-Palmerton about it, as required by state law, according to state officials.

Instead, caregivers at Aurora Residential Alternatives sprinkled the bedsore with baby powder and applied antibiotic cream, watching it grow larger and more serious until it was bone-deep, records show. Nichols-Palmerton is suing Aurora for alleged negligence, seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

Joshua Wahl’s life had never been easy. But he was happy, his mother said.

Changes to Wisconsin law passed two years ago, however, mean her attorney can’t use those state investigation records as evidence in the lawsuit, which alleges a four-month pattern of neglect.

The law, which went into effect in February 2011, bars families from using state health investigation records in state civil suits filed against long-term providers, including nursing homes and hospices. It also makes such records inadmissible in criminal cases against health care providers accused of neglecting or abusing patients
The changes were included in a tort reform measure, the first bill Gov. Scott Walker proposed after Republicans swept both houses and the governor’s office in the 2010 elections.

Proponents of the law argue that its impact on the use of investigation records is minimal.

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New State Law Conceals Records of Abuse, Neglect in Nursing Homes

>Nursing Homes With a Track Record – a Bad One

May 21, 2011

>Among the 15,547 nursing homes in the full set of U.S. News rankings, 131 are tagged as “Special-Focus Facilities.” Consider it a red flag. These homes have been singled out by the state where they operate and by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as nursing homes with long histories of subpar or inconsistent health inspections. Here’s more about SFFs:

What makes a nursing home an SFF?
A history. A single event, even a serious one such as spoiled food that sickens several residents, isn’t enough. But similar findings in three consecutive inspections are one of three required SFF flags. The second is that a deficiency affected or could have affected many residents. The third is that the problem remained unresolved on follow-up inspections.

Should I remove my loved one from an SFF?
Not necessarily. Moving a resident who has grown used to the rhythms and routines of a home can be upsetting, even traumatic. If you are generally satisfied with the level of care, says CMS spokesperson Mary Kahn, it’s better just to be watchful. “One family member who is attentive and an activist,” she says, “can go a long way toward ensuring their loved one receives good care.”

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Nursing Homes With a Track Record – A Bad One

One Patient: Sixty Seven Different Drugs

November 12, 2009

The scariest wrinkle in the Omnicare kickback case is just how vulnerable old people in nursing homes are to schemes in which drug companies allegedly induce pharmacies to prescribe drugs they otherwise wouldn’t.

One patient cited by the government’s complaint received 67 — sixty-seven! – different drugs under Omnicare’s “care”. Those drugs included Cipro, Neurontin, Heparin, Pepcid, Oxycodone and Seroquel or their generics, according to the complaint.

Omnicare, the country’s largest nursing home pharmacy chain, paid $98 million to settle the case.

There’s no suggestion that these drugs were prescribed needlessly (some patients are indeed very sick), however this patient seems to have been “cycled” through various drug categories — hence Seroquel and Neurontin, and Pepcid and Zantac. (Ironically, Risperdal seems to be the only drug the patient didn’t get.)

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In Risperdal Kickback Case, One Nursing Home Patient Received 67 Different Drugs

<a href="”>Download the Complaint from the Phillips and Cohen Website