The current administration has set its sights on another federal rule, seeking to eliminate the ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements for nursing home residents. Pre-dispute arbitration agreements require elderly adults and individuals with disabilities, as well as their families, to waive their right to file a lawsuit in the courts – before admission to a… Continue Reading
To increase protection of its elderly and disabled citizens from abuse and neglect, the state of New Jersey is expanding its Safe Care Cam program to nursing homes, residences for the developmentally disabled, and other institutional care facilities. The Safe Care Cam program loans free surveillance cameras to New Jersey residents to monitor the treatment… Continue Reading
In 2011, the insurance, pharmaceutical, and nursing home industries worked together with an extraordinary budget to try to deceive American consumers into giving up their constitutional rights through a bill known then as HR-5. This bill would have severely harmed the rights of consumers across the country who were catastrophically injured or killed by any… Continue Reading
I was recently speaking with someone about a woman who worked for a non-profit nursing home for many years. She liked it there and the facility provided good care. Then the facility was sold to a for-profit corporation. Overnight, staff hours were cut, pay was cut, and care declined. The person I was speaking with… Continue Reading
CMS is currently considering whether or not to ban pre-dispute arbitration documents from nursing home admission contracts. The patient or their family members must sign home admission contracts before they can be admitted, and these contracts are often lengthy and complex. Unfortunately, sometimes these contracts contain a pre-dispute arbitration document, and if the patient signs… Continue Reading
Our practice group has often written about how corporations unfairly use predispute arbitration agreements to sidestep the civil-justice system and gain disproportionate advantage when addressing their negligent conduct in arbitration. Often times, corporations slip arbitration clauses into the admission papers and process—at a time when the family is justifiably thinking about the loved one’s health,… Continue Reading
Our nursing-home lawyers frequently explain that in 1976, the New Jersey Legislature expressed a broad policy and goal for protecting nursing-home resident rights. And in doing so, it empowered the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health with setting the path and rules that nursing home corporations must follow to ensure that they do… Continue Reading
Eric Dakhari, Esq., member of the firm’s Nursing Home Litigation Group, was featured on WIMG and WPHY’s Trenton Talks – In the Public Interest. The program discussed at length the rights and role of healthcare whistleblowers, the role of the nursing home MDS Coordinator, and the role of the lawyers in whistleblower cases. Check out… Continue Reading
When I began working in this field, I was astonished to realize that very few nursing homes and no assisted living facilities have a full-time doctor working there. I found that facilities at times may be staffed almost entirely with nurse aides and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) as opposed to Registered Nurses (RN). RNs received… Continue Reading
News source Health Law 360 today reported that nursing home owner Ralex Services agreed to pay $2.2 Million after a whistleblower came forward and revealed to the government that the company was overstating to Medicaid the level of care residents needed in order to boost profits.
When families are considering whether to use nursing-home services to care for their loved ones, they must consider various issues in determining whether a nursing home is capable of providing adequate care. Among other issues, a family must determine how well a nursing home staffs its operations.
For example, roughly 450 nursing-home care workers recently announced their intentions to go on strike to address the unfair labor practices occurring across four different facilities owned by the same company. But even before the workers commence their strike, the elderly residents within those facilities, and their families, have already endured the catastrophic effects stemming from underpaid staff, and the accompanying understaffed environment.
Here’s an article on my good friend and fellow nursing home litigator, Steve Levin, of Chicago.
While many people have no formal medical training, having a parent that suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia can give people a crash course in anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety medications. Often times, these family members tell me they did not like the fact that their parent or loved one was taking these medications because it turned their parent “into a zombie,” had potential serious side effects, or just didn’t work.
I recently met with Robert Ramsey of Garden State CLE to discuss the possible dangers facing Alzheimer’s patients who reside in assisted living facilities when there is a “locked ward”. Rob and I discuss why this source of abuse commonly happens, how I prepare for a case which includes this sort of abuse, and the genesis of the “Resident’s Rights” statutes that now guides my practice.
I have had cases where a person suffers from a bed sore that is so large the spinal column is visible, and yet the cause of death listed on the death certificate states, “natural causes”, or “dementia”, or “Alzheimer’s”. While we may still pursue a claim to hold those responsible for the large and painful wound accountable, it is frustrating to the family that the bed sore is not listed on the death certificate.
The Federal Government has joined in a Whistleblower suit, which alleges that AseraCare, a national hospice company owned by Golden Living, wrongly took advantage of Medicare’s hospice benefit by pressuring its employees to place people into hospice who weren’t dying. The suit states that AseraCare first recruited patients who are eligible for skilled nursing care for 20 days, for which Medicare pays the entire bill. After 20 days, when Medicare requires patients pick up a part of the tab, AseraCare had the nursing homes send the patients to hospice, according to the lawsuit. In hospice, AseraCare would collect a flat payment from Medicare for each day they are enrolled.
Good employee hiring practices and proper resident supervision is an important part of running a successful nursing home. When these components are missing, serious terrible things can happen. One piece of advice I give to those with family members in nursing homes is to get to know the staff and make sure there are enough people in the building – especially on nights and weekends.
Earlier this month, Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, reported that more than 90% of nursing homes employ one or more people who have been convicted of a crime. In addition, the report states that 5% of all nursing home employees have at least one criminal conviction.
A disturbing recent story was released and ultimately televised involving an over-stressed nursing home employee who was caught on tape assaulting an innocent resident. No matter how difficult the job, harming an innocent senior is vicious and wholly worthy of the prosecution that this employee faces. It is imperative that nursing home owners carefully screen and supervise employees to prevent the needless harms that inevitably will ensue.
One of the most critical responsibilities for nursing homes that choose to accept cognitively impaired patients is to pro-activly do everything and anything it takes to protect them. Many studies show that approximately 80% of nursing home residents suffer from at least some degree of cognitive impairment.
Telling the truth about those defrauding the government proves to be lucrative for the government, who took in $2.5 billion in healthcare fraud recoupment – the highest amount ever. This is likely in part to new protections for employees courageous enough to come forward about employers who steal from and defraud the government.
Many of our clients describe poor nursing home conditions that a loved one was forced to endure until they could be moved or before they died. All too often, a nursing home will promise to fix problems complained about and don’t. Most people are not aware that there are laws that dictate mandatory nursing home responsibilities. Nursing homes that do not meet their obligations can be punished.
Here is a very disturbing story involving a pharmacy which for many years opened sealed containers of excess drugs in an unsterile environment and resold them to unsuspecting nursing homes – with no consideration for expiration dates or contamination. This came to light solely due the bravery of a whistleblower-employee.
A government study released today states that roughly 15,000 Medicare patients die each month due in part to the care they receive at hospitals. The study focuses on understanding adverse events in hospitals, or more specifically, any medical care that causes harm to a patient.