Between 2013 and 2017, the Northern Manor Geriatric Center in Rockland County, New York received more than double the average number of citations by the New York Department of Health, the entity responsible for performing yearly inspections at all nursing homes in the state. Compared to the statewide average of 34 citations- relating to either standard health or life safety violations – Northern Manor Geriatric Center received 73 citations by the government agency. Of these 73 citations, two were related to “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” – the most serious of violations issued by New York State.
Bayberry Nursing Home in New Rochelle, New York received 19 citations for violating New York laws on protecting nursing home residents and ensuring their safety over the previous four years. In the last year alone, the Westchester nursing home received five citations, three of which were categorized as “moderately severe” violations. These are the violations found by the New York State Department of Health in just the previous year:
1. The nursing home had a medication error rate over 5 percent. Under Section 483.25(m)(1) of the Federal Code, a nursing home may not have a medication error rate of over 5 percent. A medication error can include an improperly prescribed medication or an improperly administered medication – typically a prescription drug given at the wrong time, in the wrong dosage, or even a wrong drug altogether. The two examples found in this Westchester nursing home include a patient who received a medication without the extended release coating prescribed by their doctor and a patient who received a dosage of B12 that was 10 times stronger (1,000 mcg) than prescribed (100 mcg). When the resident nurse in the second instance was questioned about the stronger dose, she admitted the resident had been receiving the higher, incorrect dosage for a long period of time. The consequences of medication errors can be catastrophic. Continue reading
The Martine Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, previously the Schnurmacher Center, in White Plains, New York received 60 complaints and 15 citations for violating New York and federal law, according to the New York State Department of Health. The Department of Health inspects each nursing home facility in the state every 9 to 15 months and publishes the results of these inspections. According to the state health care agency, the nursing home violated the following state or federal regulations on nursing home safety:
1. The nursing home did not perform criminal background checks on all of its employees. Under Section 402.6(b) of the New York Code, nursing homes must run a criminal history background check on all of its employees who come in contact with its residents. This includes completing a form and submitting two sets of the employee’s fingerprints to the Department of Health. The health inspector found that the nursing home violated this provision by forgoing a criminal background check on an employee who had direct contact with nursing home residents. Continue reading
Over the previous four years, the United Hebrew Geriatric Center in Westchester County received 22 citations for violating New York law on nursing home safety. The violations were all categorized as “moderately severe”, according to the New York Department of Health.
While the quality of care received by patients at the facility was higher in some areas of treatment compared to the rest of New York state, the facility scored below the state average in the number of residents who experienced a major fall (2.3 percent) and the percent of residents whose ability to move independently worsened during their long-term stay (14.4 percent). Further, according to the New York State Department of Health, 2.1 percent of nursing home residents received a diagnosis of pressure ulcers, or bed sores – a largely preventable type of harm.
According to the state’s inspectors, the following laws and regulations were violated by the United Hebrew Geriatric Center in the last several years: Continue reading
According to a recent report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), almost 16 percent of residents at long-term nursing homes are being treated with antipsychotic medications. While down from 24 percent in 2011, the CMS report and many doctors question the efficacy and necessity of these powerful mind-altering medications. According to the report, decreases in antipsychotic usage were seen across all fifty states, with New York seeing one of the smallest reductions.
The majority of elderly residents receiving the antipsychotic medicine are diagnosed with dementia. Antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify, Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa, have not been proven to treat dementia, nor have these drugs been shown to reduce the symptoms of dementia. In some instances, antipsychotic medication can also cause serious side effects for the senior citizens who have been prescribed these drugs. In addition to a higher rate of death, antipsychotic drugs also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and slip and fall accidents. Consequently, medical associations and patient advocacy groups believe the number of dementia patients taking antipsychotics should be closer to zero. Continue reading
The Attorney General’s Office in New York announced the indictment of two Brooklyn men for running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid recipients from healthcare clinics in the Bronx and Manhattan. According to the Attorney General, Tea Kaganovich and Ramazi Mitiashvili, operated three separate companies, Sophisticated Imaging, Inc., East Coast Diagnosists and East West Management, for the sole purpose of defrauding the federal health care system meant to care for the poor and elderly. The Brooklyn men apparently defrauded the government in the amount of $8 million dollars, often to the harm of actual New York residents who looked to the companies to treat their healthcare problems.
The clinics were located at 2423 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Manhattan and 2781 Webster Avenue in the Bronx. Responding to the charges, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “Medicaid is meant to be a healthcare safety net for New Yorkers, not a bank account for criminals.” Continue reading
In the first study of its kind, a new report found that many nursing home residents experience violence from other residents while residents. In America, 18 percent of staff at one residential facility reported aggression by residents as a daily occurrence. Further, 90 percent of the nursing home resident aggressors had a diagnosis of dementia. Because of the rules surrounding reporting nursing home abuse, the study found it is likely that much resident-to-resident violence goes unreported.
Dementia appears to be the largest cause of resident-to-resident violence in assisted living facilities. According to the Australian report, other risk factors that would make a nursing home resident more violent include being male and recent admission to a nursing home. However, of all these factors – dementia stands out, a diagnosis found in 90 percent of nursing home aggressors in Australia. Continue reading
A new report by Time Magazine shines a harsh light on the hospice care industry in America – reporting that 21 percent of hospices, accounting for more than 84,000 patients, failed to provide critical care to patients in 2015. The report, which includes vivid and heartbreaking stories, points towards a largely unregulated industry that received almost $16 billion in federal Medicare dollars last year.
Hospice is provided to Medicaid patients if they are expected to pass away within six months. Starting in the 1970s, hospice care focuses on relieving the symptoms of a patient and providing “comfort care.” The use of hospice care has become increasingly popular in the last couple decades. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, enrollment in hospice care has more than doubled since 2000.
While most Americans think of hospice as a location, the reality is that most Americans utilize hospice care so they can pass away in their own home. With 86 percent of Americans saying they want to die at home, the trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon, either.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become increasingly focused on their bottom line in recent years to the detriment of their elderly patients. A recent piece by the New York Times describes the trend where nursing homes have transitioned from non-profits to corporate behemoths – focused on outsourcing and consolidating to minimize costs, reduce their tax liability, and reduce their liability in lawsuits.
According to the nursing homes, consolidation provides a cost-effective way to deliver care to their elderly residents. Through a complex web of corporate ownership, nursing home businesses can reduce their tax liability. According to these nursing homes, those savings are passed on to the residents.
There are also legal benefits to the owners of these nursing home chains – often coming at the expense of the elderly residents. Whenever a person is injured in a nursing home, a complex web of corporate ownership may help the nursing home avoid liability for the harm it has caused. By siphoning the profits of a nursing home into unrelated corporations, injured victims of elder abuse may not be able to hold their nursing home responsible for their damages. Continue reading
Home care agencies in New York and across the country are routinely denying chronically ill patients access to their services, according to a report by Kaiser Health News and NPR. In many instances, the home care agency will falsely state that Medicare does not cover home care for chronic illnesses. in order to find out why, the NPR report dug a little deeper.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the government agency responsible for the healthcare programs, Medicare is required to pay for home health care if two conditions are satisfied. First, it must be ordered by the doctor. Second, the patient must have “great difficulty” leaving their home. If these two conditions are satisfied, then federal law requires Medicaid to cover home health care expenses indefinitely and without charging a copayment or deductible to the sick patient. Continue reading