It was a simple email: four sentences sent in early 2010 to a nursing home administrator about the care of one of the home’s residents. Days later, the author of that email — along with his girlfriend, the resident’s daughter — were accused of trespassing, civil harassment, intentional interference with contractual relations, and, bizarrely, defamation; ostensibly because they had exercised their legal right to copy their attorney on the message. [More]
When an elderly parent is no longer able to make sensible medical decisions for themselves, an adult child is often named a medical proxy to handle these important calls. But does this life-or-death authority over a parent’s medical care carry over to things like signing legally binding contracts, and possible signing away your, or your parent’s, right so sue their nursing home? [More]
A new lawsuit accuses the California Department of Health and Human Services of deliberately turning a blind eye to the illegal practice of taking nursing home residents who receive state aid and “dumping” them into the hospital system by refusing to let them return, even under binding orders to readmit them. [More]
When a trip to the emergency room is in order, you’re usually in a hurry, because, after all, it’s an emergency. Sitting around waiting to be seen by a doctor can be an agonizing experience for those in need of quick help. While Yelp can’t hurry along those doctors, it can apparently tell you just how long you might expect to be camped out in the hospital E.R. [More]
When a nursing home receives Medicare funds, it’s supposed to use that money for patient care, and it’s actually a felony offense under the Medicare and Medicaid Patient Protection Act to use that money to pay kickbacks to physicians for referring patients. In a record settlement for this sort of case, a the operator of a network of Florida nursing homes will pay $17 million to close the books on allegations it ran this sort of kickback scheme for seven years. [More]
Deep-pocketed companies have a long history of filing frivolous lawsuits with the sole intent of putting defendants through the expensive legal wringer. This sort of courtroom bullying is known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) and several states have Anti-SLAPP laws to deter this type of abuse. Plaintiffs that file these lawsuits can face penalties, but one question being considered by a California appeals court is whether plaintiffs’ lawyers should be held accountable for allowing their clients to behave badly. [More]
Authorities in Michigan say that a manager of a nursing home spent several years siphoning off residents’ funds, making herself wealthier to the tune of nearly half a million dollars in the process — and she wasn’t caught until after she’d already been fired. [More]
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in Michigan has cited two nursing homes for violations after a survey found two elderly women in their care had maggots in their throat and pubic areas. Now a watchdog group is investigating. [More]
A pair of male thieves who dressed as female nurses are accused of robbing residents of Denver-area nursing homes, making off with credit cards they used at big-box retail stores. Authorities say the alleged criminals, who wear nurse scrubs, made their move when victims are dining or participating in other activities. The crimes could be connected to a national ring with similar incidents in Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Kansas and Alabama. [More]
A pill is just so much easier. Drug ’em up and shut ’em up. Rather than deal with all the individual needs of elderly persons with dementia in their care, some nursing homes are dosing them with powerful antipsychotics. Not only have the folk not received a diagnosis that the medicine was designed to treat, not only does the drug turn them into zombies their families don’t recognize, but the FDA has warned that using antipsychotics on older patients with dementia nearly doubles their risk of death. [More]
A jury in California has slapped Skilled Healthcare Inc. with $671 million in damages for a four-year-old lawsuit that alleged that company did not provide the required 3.2 nursing hours per day, per patient. [More]
A Michigan court has struck an arbitration clause in a wrongful death case against a nursing home that allegedly allowed one of its senile residents to wander outside and freeze to death.
Of all the unusual gifts you can give Mom or Dad this holiday season, none would be more surprising than a simple card saying, “We’re putting you in a home.” Just make sure you don’t pick a bad one, because nearly a quarter of nursing homes were rated “much below average” in a new monthly federal evaluation.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released the first-ever
“Stories of elder abuse in long-term care facilities usually involve rogue staff. So you may be surprised to learn that the vast majority of violent assaults in nursing homes involve one resident attacking another.” [CBC Marketplace]
If you wanna make an omelet, you gotta break a few eggs—even if those eggs are old people who die from bedsores that have become infected. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that on average, patients at nursing homes that are bought by private investment firms do worse than those at other nursing homes, with higher rates of depression, increased loss of mobility, and less ability to dress and bathe themselves. The New York Times has a horror story on 48 Florida nursing homes where staff was reduced to levels below mandatory requirements and didn’t repair equipment or keep facilities sanitary. Even senior activities were reduced. And there are thousands of (now profitable) nursing homes across the country that are owned by private investment companies.