On June 12, 2019, a report released by the Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General revealed that Nursing Home Abuse remains largely unreported. The study examined claims sent to Medicare in 2016 by beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The report states that approximately one in five of those emergency room visits were the result of potential abuse or neglect.
Late last December, a nurse at Hacienda HealthCare in Arizona panicked and called 911 as a patient unexpectedly gave birth. The 29 year old patient, who has been in a vegetative state since age 3, delivered a healthy baby boy. A police investigation concluded that one of her caregivers, a 32 year-old male nurse, raped the patient several times and fathered the child. The victim’s attorneys filed a $45 million notice of claim against the state of Arizona in late May.
After giving birth in the nursing home, the victim and baby were transferred to a nearby hospital. According to the hospital, the baby’s birth was “a repeat parous event,” meaning the victim had likely been pregnant before.
A list of nursing homes around the country flagged by federal lawmakers for persistent health issues has now been made public, and 11 of them are in New Jersey.
The government would previously not disclose the official list of the nursing homes with serious ongoing health, safety, or sanitary problems found by inspectors. The silence cracked on June 4th when Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania released the list of over 400 nursing homes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) flagged with persistently poor survey inspection results.
Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revised their Nursing Home Compare 5-Star Quality Rating System, giving 29 New Jersey nursing facilities a one-star rating. These updates intend to give consumers clearer information about the quality of care residents receive at different nursing centers. The changes also aim to promote quality improvement within the facilities.
The tide may be turning in favor of the residents against facilities in defeating unjust arbitration agreements.
After an “accidental” fall in a Brick Township, New Jersey nursing home landed an Alzheimer’s patient in the hospital, the patient’s daughter advocated for more protection of the elderly. The elder abuse regulations geared to prevent elder abuse are finally law.
Gov. Chris Christie signed Peggy’s Law (S-1219), named for Peggy Marzolla, in August of 2017. The law aims to protect senior citizens in nursing homes from abuse by requiring facility staff to promptly report suspected abuse and exploitation to law enforcement. Previously, staff members were only required to submit cases of abuse to New Jersey’s Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, but not to the police.
A federal jury in Miami found nursing home owner Philip Esformes guilty on 20 counts related to bribery, money laundering, kickbacks, and obstruction of justice.
Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs released inspection reports of 99 VA nursing homes across the country, and the results are staggering. Out of the 99 VA nursing homes inspected, 52 were cited for deficiencies that caused “actual harm” to veterans.
The federal government imposed a $600,331 fine on the New Jersey nursing center where a viral outbreak left 11 children dead and 36 sick last year. Investigators reported Wanaque nursing home’s poor infection controls, lack of administrative oversight, and slow response from medical staff “directly contributed” to the rapid spread of the virus and its related death toll.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing to discuss reports of abuse and neglect in some nursing homes across the country. The Committee also discussed how to protect these patients from abuse.
This hearing was held only weeks after a health care facility in Arizona discovered that one of their patients, a 29-year-old women in a vegetative state, had been raped. The pregnancy was discovered when the woman went into labor. In January, a 36-year-old nurse was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting and impregnating the woman.