A recent federal and state report excoriated New York’s handling of complaints against nursing homes and nurses in the state.
An audit by the New York found that the state had failed to properly investigate complaints against nurses. For the cases that are deemed “priority 1” – the most serious which usually involve allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse – New York took an average of 228 days to investigate. State law re
quires these investigations to conclude within 10 days of the complaint. In one horrific case, New York failed to sanction, or otherwise discipline a nurse in any way, after she administered an overdose of insulin that nearly killed a patient. In another case, it took New York almost a year-and-a-half to revoke the nursing license from a Bronx nurse who sexually assaulted a patient.
New York performs even worse when factoring in lower-priority complaints against medical care professionals. With over 8,000 complaints lodged between April 2014 and April 2017, more than 2,000 were not performed within the required 180-day time period.
On the same day the state audit was released, a federal report, issued by The Department of Health and Human Services, found that New York routinely failed to investigate the most serious complaints against nursing homes. New York, topping all but three other states, failed to properly investigate 976 high-priority complaints of abuse by nursing residents within the required 10-day period in 2015. That number is more than double the 448 high-priority complaints insufficiently investigated within the 10-day period in 2011.
Further, after New York does investigate these complaints it is much less likely to properly discipline the abuser. Only 11 percent of complaints against medical practitioners in nursing homes were disciplined. This is significantly below the 30 percent average in the United States. The delayed and ineffective investigations have nursing home advocates seriously considered.
According to advocates, families typically do not complain to state agencies except in the most serious cases. Therefore, the ineffective oversight of nursing homes may point to a much deeper problem for vulnerable nursing home residents in the state.
In response to the scathing reports, the New York Health Department states that it has sped up its investigation process, and pointed to another federal report, using more recent data, recognizing its speedier response.
Gallivan & Gallivan is a law firm dedicated to holding nursing homes accountable for abuse. If you or a loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home, please contact the dedicated and caring nursing home abuse attorneys.