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Legal Representation

The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan provide effective, aggressive representation to individuals injured in the New York area. Our priority is to maximize the recovery of our clients injured due to the neglect of others.

On June 2, 2016, two nurses were indicted after being caught on video surveillance ignoring an injured patient at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  The incident occurred in October 2015. A 51 year old disabled male patient fell in the hallway at the facility, injuring his head and jaw.

Nurses Funmilola Taiwo and Esohe Agbonkpolor can be seen on video ignoring the patient for over 10 minutes as the patient crawled on the floor in agony. After several minutes of watching, Certified Nurse’s Aide Emmanuel Ufot was seen dragging the patient by his arm into his room. 25 minutes later, the patient is seen crawling back into the hallway bleeding profusely from his head and jaw injury while Taiwo and Agbonkpolor stood by watching. Ufot is then seen dragging the patient to his room for a second time by the collar of his gown, twisting it around the patient’s neck. Continue reading

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest of a certified nurse aide in Buffalo, NY on June 14, 2016.  Angelene Burton, 53, is charged with slapping an 88 year old nursing home resident. She was arrested after a witness reported her slapping a resident at Highpointe on Michigan Health Care Facility. The resident, who was not named to protect his privacy, is unable to care for himself and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and acute kidney failure.

Burton reportedly slapped the resident on the left side of his face with an open hand while she was providing care. After she completed caring for the resident, witnesses saw her slap the patient in the face again.  The Attorney General’s Office explains its stance on elder abuse by often issuing statement that recognize nursing home residents as our most vulnerable citizens.  They should be assured of their safety while at a nursing facility. AG Schneiderman pointed out in his press release that this type of abuse will not be tolerated and his office will work to ensure patients are properly cared for and treated with respect and dignity. Continue reading

The Nursing Home Data Compendium for 2015 was published March 25, 2016 and showed the percentage of nursing homes with deficiency-free surveys is increasing; this data was collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Compendium includes data on nursing home characteristics, survey results and resident information which was gathered through the CASPER database for survey and certification information, population data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and the Minimum Data Set. Data based on nursing home surveys from 2005 -2008 found the likelihood of a nursing home receiving at least one health deficiency increased during that period, but reversed after that time.

Five years later, the percentage of nursing homes without deficiencies increased from 8.8% in 2009 to 10.2% in 2014. There has also been a decrease in the amount of surveys finding substandard quality of care from 4.4% in 2008 to 3.2% in 2014.  The compendium also includes a list of the most frequently cited health deficiencies found on surveys from 2005 to 2014. The top deficiencies were storing and cooking food in a safe and clean way, ensuring the facility is free of accident hazards, providing adequate supervision to prevent accidents, providing necessary care to improve resident well-being and having a program that investigates and controls the spread of infections. Continue reading

Nursing home staff members were accused of violating a resident’s privacy by posting degrading photographs and videos on social media. Jane Bosquet, a 76 year old woman suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s disease and resident of Wingate Belvedere in Lowell, Massachusetts had “unflattering” photographs of her taken and posted on Snapchat by two nurses’ aides. Sabrina Costa and Kala Lopez violated the rights of several vulnerable elderly women, all of whom are suffering from dementia. Costa and Lopez apologized to their victims’ families in court last month as they pled guilty to elder abuse; however their words reportedly did little to comfort the families. Jay Bosquet, son of Jane, stated the aids abused their responsibilities and trust they were given. Jay Bosquet remembers his mother as vibrant and funny, but she has not been the same since the incident. He is heartbroken by what happened to his mother. Continue reading

Holiday Manor Care Center, a nursing home in California, was fined $100,000 as a result of a resident’s death at the facility. The facility was found to have several deficiencies in the way the staff cared for the patient who had a known risk for falls.

The resident was admitted to the facility in August 2014 with diagnoses of confusion, impaired vision, and unstable balance.  She required assistance when walking. On September 8, 2014, the resident attempted to get out of bed on her own without supervision and fell.  A staff member noticed her on the ground and documented the fall.  The notation indicates she was found on the floor moaning with a bump on the right side of her head and a blueish discoloration.  Nine days later the resident died; she suffered a hemorrhage in the brain and the cause of death was blunt force head trauma. Continue reading

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five-Star Quality Rating System in order to help consumers, families, and caregivers compare nursing homes easily and help identify areas they may have questions about. The site rates each nursing home on a scale of 1 to 5; nursing homes with 5 star ratings are considered to be above average quality and homes with a 1 star rating is considered to have lower than average quality.  In order to obtain a high rating from CMS it is important to have adequate measures in place in order to that focus on prevention and early detection for wound/skin care, falls, and urinary incontinence. It is also important to have measures in place that focus on weight loss, dehydration, infection, and dementia care.

A bill proposed in October 2015 called The Nursing Home Accountability Act set forth guidelines that would make a nursing home facility with two or less stars ineligible for a future mortgage/loan.  This method is far more stringent than the  current Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards.  HUD is a major lender for nursing home facilities.  Although this legislation is not likely to pass, it provides a glance into possible future legislation surrounding this topic.
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Governor Cuomo’s administration has approved an $850 Million nursing home settlement, to be divided between New York State’s 600 nursing facilities.  This would be welcome news if the money was to be allocated for additional staffing or services for the residents.  Unfortunately, however, there do not seem to be any pre-requisites or mandates regarding how the money must be spent.  This will allow less scrupulous owners to line their pockets.

The funds are being provided to all NY nursing homes despite federal regulators’  findings that 2/3 of the state’s facilities are below average. The NBC I-Team analysis found that more than 230 of the 600 homes set to receive part of the settlement have inspection ratings of one and two stars out of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System. Richard Mallot, Executive Director of the long Term Community Coalition, questioned why the state would give some of the country’s worst nursing home facilities money, suggesting that money should be taken away from these facilities.  Continue reading

Woodbriar Health Center of Wilmington, Massachusetts faces up to $100,000 in fines following the death of a resident that resulted from a fall on Christmas day of 2015. The nursing home has been accused several times of poor care by the state and families of residents. An 83 year old resident, Mary Meuse, was dropped from a mechanical lift that caused her to break both her legs and led to her death 2 days later. The staff at Woodbriar did not notify Meuse’s family for 24 hours although they were aware of her condition at the time of incident. The nursing home is now facing fines of $250 to $3,000 a day in the wake of Meuse’s death; if the fines begin from December 25, 2015, the facility could face up to $100,000. Continue reading

Monroe County nursing homes have been cited for numerous deficiencies that often place residents at risk, yet they are still open for business; a Rochester nursing home remained open for two years after receiving chronic violations from the government. Democrat and Chronicle, a newspaper in Rochester, NY found that more than 1/3 of violations received have been cited by Department of Health (DOH) inspectors during previous or checkup inspections (repeat offenses). In some instances, the conditions that led to repeat citations were the basis of wrongful death lawsuits.

reportThere are 34 nursing homes in Monroe County, all of which were cited for a total of 768 state and federal violations during the period of 2012 to 2015; 38% of those citations were repeat deficiencies. The DOH is supposed to ensure that nursing homes comply with regulations of minimum standards of care by making random visits every nine to 15 months and posting the results of inspections online.  However, many believe this method is not enough and the state should do more as a means of enforcement. Rose Marie Fagan, a citizen of the town of Victor said that there is no reason for less than excellent nursing home care and that the community should demand better for the elderly. Continue reading

According to a Propublica article,New York State’s oversight in the field of nursing care in considerably more lenient when compared with other states in the country. Over the past 15 years, nursing boards around the country have taken steps to tighten the screening process of nurse applicants before issuing licenses and implemented stricter punishments for abusers.  New York is seemingly far behind in this process. In New York, applicants are not subject to background checks or fingerprinting when applying for a nursing license; these are procedures used to identify criminal backgrounds and the possibility of legal issues. In addition, it often takes years to discipline nurses that provide substandard care, steal medicine, or physically abuse residents.

Nursing licensure is overseen by the Office of the Professionals (OP), which falls under the Department of Education and Board of Regents (BOR). The OP is allowed to take immediate action against nurses accused of endangering the health and safety of the public, however, in the past they have failed to do so.  The Propublica investigation found that the OP often fails to act when they are notified that a nurse has been disciplined by another agency or state. Nursing applicants and nurses are expected to self-report criminal convictions on their application, however many do not, which is why background checks and fingerprinting would be a useful resource. Peggy Chase, a member of the New York nursing board, also part of the OP, stated that there are blind spots in the system and the issue of background checks has never been mentioned at one of their meetings.  Continue reading