Michael Vecchio, a 29 year-old patient at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, died after 3 months of hospitalization. The patient did not have a terminal illness or life-threatening condition–he was admitted because he suffered from schizophrenia. After weeks of not eating, he passed away.

The facility pointed to privacy laws when preventing Michael’s family from knowing he stopped eating until he was rushed in an ambulance to Morristown Medical Center on Jan. 24, 2017. His mother, Beth Vecchio, said a nurse told her that Michael suffered severe stomach pain “for a few days” before Greystone finally called the ambulance. Michael died twenty hours later.

Continue Reading Preventable Death at N.J. Health Facility: Schizophrenic Patient Starved for 30 Days

Legal rights will once again be stripped away from elderly and disabled residents in nursing homes. On July 16, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid overturned the ban on nursing homes using arbitration agreements with their residents. For decades, nursing facilities could hide their malpractice and handle all claims brought against them behind closed doors by forcing residents to sign away their legal rights in arbitration agreements. For residents who experienced neglect, assault, or death due to a facility’s failures, their families were denied access to the Court system because these agreements waived the rights of residents to a jury trial awarded to them by the Constitution. Instead, claims were decided in a process presided over by an arbitrator often of the nursing home’s choosing, and many times pursuant to the nursing home’s rules. When things went horribly wrong due to their malpractice, nursing homes were able to contain their costs in these arbitration proceedings in which discovery was a less than searching process and awards for damages to the residents would often be low.

Continue Reading New Arbitration Rule Violates the Rights of Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are an all too common occurrence in nursing homes and extended care facilities. The Federal Government has made a determination that “bedsores,” should not happen in nursing homes. See 42 C.F.R. 483.25(b)(ii) (stating “a resident . . . does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.”)

Those who are in a nursing home or extended care facility are usually there because there is a need for care beyond what can be provided at home. Elderly patients are especially prone to these potentially life-threatening sores, given their age, lack of mobility, thinner skin, and medical issues. However, bedsores can often be prevented with the right care plan in place. Their occurrence can be a sign of nursing home neglect.

Continue Reading Are Bedsores a Sign of Nursing Home Neglect?

A recent study found significant understaffing in 75% of nursing facilities across the country, raising concerns about the level of care patients receive.

The Harvard and Vanderbilt study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Health Affairs, used data from the Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) to analyze the staffing levels of more than 15,000 facilities. The study examined the staffing levels of registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and nurse aides, relative to the number of nursing home residents who rely on their care.

Continue Reading Nursing Home Residents at Risk: Study Finds Significant Understaffing in 75% of Skilled Nursing Facilities

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.

Continue Reading Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Incidents are Largely Unreported

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.

Continue Reading Incapacitated Woman Gave Birth in Arizona Nursing Home: Attorneys seeking $45M from the State

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.

Continue Reading Senators Reveal List of Troubled Nursing Homes: 11 New Jersey Nursing Homes Flagged for Harmful Conditions

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.

Continue Reading Revised Quality Rating System Gives 29 New Jersey Nursing Homes a One-Star Rating

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.

Continue Reading Peggy’s Law Aims to Protect Nursing Home Residents from Abuse