Articles Posted in Nursing Home Violations

Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken a stand against elder abuse by signing a new law that requires state agencies to develop guidelines to help better identify elder abuse. According to Gov. Cuomo, the new guidelines will be proactive by establishing guidelines to help identify cases of elder abuse, self-neglect and maltreatment and comprehensive by following-up with any at-risk senior citizens. Further, these guidelines will be shared not only with state agencies, but also with healthcare providers who are often in the best position to identify potential elder abuse.

This new law hopes to increase the reporting rate by educating and empowering neutral third-parties that frequently interact with senior citizens in the state – including government agencies, healthcare providers and even banks. According to Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, sponsor elderly-woman-on-phone-300x200of the bill, involving the healthcare industry will be pivotal in countering “one of the most under-reported crimes” in the nation. Because the doctor-patient relationship generally involves an implicit trust and regular interactions (especially for elderly citizens), Lupardo notes that healthcare providers are in the best position to assess and monitor potential elder abuse. Continue reading

As part of President Trump’s promise to roll-back federal regulations, the Trump administration has announced its intention to scrap a federal rule prohibiting nursing homes from requiring their residents to pursue legal claims through arbitration.

In the simplest terms, arbitration is a catch-all term for a dispute-resolution that, while legally binding, does not utilize the court system. The practice has exploded in popularity in recent decades – especially among larger corporations and nursing homes. These entities prefer arbitration because the costs are generally lower, the dispute resolution process moves much faster than the courts, and parties generally do not have a right to appeal thus providing both parties some finality to their dispwalking-out-300x225ute. Opponents of arbitration say the extra-judicial process favors corporate interests and curtails the rights of victims – from limiting discovery to removing the opportunity to appeal. Further, arbitration also removes the right for a person to have their case heard before a jury, and instead substitutes a so-called “neutral arbitrator.”
Continue reading

With toothless regulations and ineffective oversight, many nursing homes are still failing the neediest patients. With its budget for overseeing nursing homes slashed in half, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has failed to identify failing nursing homes and keep them accountable. As a consequence, some nursing homes are choosing to accept the infrequent fines instead of changing their behavior.

helpCMS is responsible for overseeing all nursing homes that receive benefits from these federal entitlement programs. CMS routinely inspects nursing homes for any violations, if a violation is found, then CMS has two options. First, CMS can put the facility on “special focus” status – reserved for the worst offenders. A nursing home with this designation would be routinely inspected more often and, supposedly, would be punished more severely for any violations. Unfortunately, federal budget cuts have blunted the amount of nursing homes that can be put under “special focus.” Since 2012, the budget for inspecting facilities with this designation has dropped by half. Consequently, despite regulators identifying 435 facilities that warranted this designation, only 88 nursing homes were actually put on the watchlist. Further, once a Continue reading

On the morning of September 12, 2009, a man (identified only as “Plaintiff”) went missing from Arms Acres, a rehabilitation center for alcoholics. The Plaintiff, in addition to being an alcoholic, also suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to the Court’s decision. Shortly before going missing the Plaintiff became “extremely disoriented, began having hallucinations” and attempted to leave the facility. The Plaintiff apparently succeeded on leaving the facility the next morning – on September 12. Sadly, on October 18, 2009 the Plaintiff’s body was discovered. Continue reading

On June 17, 2013, a patient at Barnabas Nursing Home passed away from complications arising from her pressure ulcers. Her family has sued the nursing home and hospital and believes that their family member received negligent treatment and that the hospital and nursing home should be held responsible for her death. Continue reading

On May 10, 2011, a resident (described only as “Resident X”) in the dementia/Alzheimer’s unit at Sprain Brook Manor Nursing Home became agitated, falsely believing that the television in his room had been stolen or was otherwise missing. The resident, according to the Plaintiff, had a “known history of aggression.” The nurse in the unit proceeded to take Resident X to his room and show him that his television was, in fact, still in his room. According to the Plaintiff, this was “in a manner not appropriate for dealing with an agitated Alzheimer’s patient.” As Resident X became further enraged, another nursing home resident E. Benisatto stood up to intervene when Resident X pushed her down. Benisatto was transferred to the hospital where she was treated for a hip fracture and then subsequently returned to Sprain Brook Manor. Almost a month later, on June 1, 2011, Benisatto was readmitted to the hospital for “failing to thrive” – a diagnosis that is the result of several conditions, including malnutrition, bedsores and gangrene. Sadly, Benisatto passed away only one week later. Continue reading

On February 27, 2008, a nursing home resident (whose name is not listed) at Sunrise Manor Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation passed away. The nursing home resident had only been at the center since February 19 – a mere 8 days. The cause of death was listed as septic shock – a condition where an infection is so serious that the body’s organs shut down. The nursing home resident’s family (Henry) proceeded to sue Sunrise Manor Center to recover damages based on the liability theories of: medical malpractice, wrongful death, violation of the Public Health Law, and negligent hiring and retention.  Sunrise Manor petitioned the court to dismiss all allegations against it. On February 1, 2017, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department issued its ruling.

On the liability theory based on medical malpractice and wrongful death, Sunrise Manor must prove that either (1) there was no departure from “accepted medical practice”, or (2) if there was a departure, that the departure did not cause the resident’s death. Sunrise Manor provided expert testimony that there was no departure from the accepted standard of care. The resident’s family offered rebuttal expert testimony opining that the accepted standard of care was deviated by (1) failing to inform the resident’s physician of a high fever, and that (2) the failure to inform the physician led to the resident’s untimely death. The Court decided that there was a “triable issue of fact” – meaning that a jury (and not the judge) would decide whether Sunrise Manor had committed medical malpractice and therefore enabling the family to recover damages on the legal theory of “wrongful death.” Continue reading

 New York Nursing Homes Cannot Tell Patients They Only Provide “Short-Term” Service

According to the New York Department of Health, a growing number of New York nursing homes are illegally telling potential patients that their facility only provides short-term care. Under New York law, this is illegal – there is no such thing as a “short-term” nursing home. In order to be licensed by the state, the facility must provide both short-term and long-term skilled nursing care. Further, it is illegal to discriminate against residents that may have long-term needs.

New York Nursing Homes Cannot Discriminate on the Basis of Payment

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has dropped its appeal of a court ruling blocking its prohibition on pre-dispute arbitration clauses, thus rolling back an Obama-era regulation which sought to ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements for nursing home residents. Arbitration clauses force the persons in a contract (in this instance, the nursing home and its residents) from seeking relief from the courts. Instead, an arbitration clause requires that both parties submit to an “arbitration agency” – which are generally more corporate-friendly, usually offer lower monetary awards, and most importantly limit the right of a person to appeal an arbitration decision.

Arbitration agreements often prevent families, who believe that their loved ones have been mistreated or received poor care, from seeking legal remedies in the court system. In addition, nursing home residents are generally in a weakened negotiating position and lack full knowledge of the implication arbitration agreements. Thus, they generally only find out at a later point in time that they have signed away their rights.
Continue reading

Pressure ulcers, commonly referred to as “bed sores”, are a growing problem among elderly and immobile patients, according to a study by the University of Michigan. According to the study, the amount of pressure ulcers may be up to ten times as common as the Medicare program reports.

The different rates proffered by Medicare and the University of Michigan study derive from the different methods used to detect pressure ulcers. Medicare uses billing data – which is sourced from an administrative team interpreting notes on medical records left by doctors and nurses. Because hospitals receive financial penalties for a higher number of pressure ulcers, there is an incentive for hospital administrations to downplay the number of sores within their hospitals.

The University of Michigan study, however, compared the data given by the hospital administration to “surveillance data” – basically, monitoring the skin assessments given by nurses at hospitals. This data showed that pressure ulcers were up to 10 times more common than the “administrative data” offered by Medicare suggests. According to Jennifer Meddings, M.D., M.Sc. and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, this information shows the need for a standardized approach to diagnosing bedsores – so the data provided is both accurate and uniform across hospitals.

Continue reading

Contact Information