You deserve to work with a law firm that offers integrity, reliability and a personal commitment to finding the right solutions for the challenges and opportunities you face every day. Since 1933, Stark & Stark has developed innovative legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. More than 100 attorneys, over 30 practice areas, and a philosophy of putting the law to work for our clients is the basis from which we build and maintain our practice.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) recently issued a Special Report focusing on progressively ineffective enforcement actions against nursing-home facilities that have demonstrated a pattern of serious noncompliance with federal nursing-home care standards meant to ensure quality care and resident safety.

The report concludes that in addition to a noncompliant nursing home’s ability to mislead consumers about its quality of care by masking staffing levels and self-reporting quality-care measures to the federal government, penalties in the form of monetary fines—imposed on the most unsafe nursing homes—are declining, and thus, are likely ineffective in improving the care provided to residents.

Continue Reading What You Should Know About Special Focus Facility Nursing Homes

June 15th is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day was designated to raise awareness of the many issues involving abuse and neglect of older persons, some of the most vulnerable people in society. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the United Nations (UN) worked together to establish this day of awareness.

According to the National Council on Aging, at least 10 percent of older adults have suffered from elder abuse. The UN’s International Plan of Action recognizes elder abuse as a public health as well as human rights issue.

Elder abuse includes physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. By establishing the Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the goal is to create a call-to-action for people and organizations to further raise awareness about elder abuse and neglect.

Continue Reading The More You Know: Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

A significant number of nursing home residents are shorter-term residents who are recuperating from surgery or illness. A recent study centered on the information provided when patients are discharged from hospitals to nursing homes, and they or their families are tasked with choosing a post-acute care facility.

As a result of regulations and incentives imposed by the Affordable Care Act, hospitals began being held partly accountable for Medicare patients’ care after discharge. However, little information has been available about the process of patients choosing a post-acute care facility.

Continue Reading Patients Often Discharged to Nursing Homes with No Information on Quality of Care

How does the role of an MDS Coordinator relate to patient care and Medicare or Medicaid fraud?

A nursing home MDS Coordinator assesses the capabilities of a patient and creates individual care plans—including the level of treatment that must be delivered. A person in this position may be doing their job right but then fall under the pressure from the nursing home to up the ante for more billings or risk losing a well-paying job. It starts out with a fudged physical therapy session here or there. Then the message flows downhill to CNAs and other healthcare staff resulting in more falsified records. This escalates with more and more demands from above to get additional services—and higher value services—added to the bills. In the end, the Government is defrauded.

Continue Reading Rights of Whistleblowers: MDS Coordinators

The most recent attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system would fundamentally alter Medicaid and jeopardize home and community-based services, according to www.DisabilityScoop.com. A chart outlining the proposed bill is available here.

After a prior Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed, this new effort in the U.S. Senate again seeks to upend the Obama-era law.

The proposal introduced last week by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis. runs into a deadline of September 30. After that date, a simple majority will not suffice to pass the measure – rather, 60 votes would be needed to do so.

Thus, Republicans have until Sept. 30 to repeal Obamacare with only 51 votes in the Senate under the current budget resolution.

Continue Reading New Healthcare Bill Would Impact Medicaid Services

Mandatory Arbitration in Nursing Home Admission Contracts

A proposed rule change introduced by the Trump administration would authorize mandatory, pre-dispute arbitration in long-term care admissions contracts. The proposed rule is in response to an Obama administration rule that prohibited federal funding for long-term care facilities that required residents to resolve disputes through arbitration.

ABA Writes Letter Opposing Rule Change

In a recent letter, the American Bar Association (ABA) advocates for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to retain its current rule prohibiting long-term care facilities from entering into binding arbitration agreements with residents until after a dispute arises. In the letter sent to CMS administrator Seema Verma, the ABA writes that implementing the proposed rule would harm residents’ rights and interests.

Continue Reading ABA Resists Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Nursing Home Admissions Contracts

When a loved one moves into a nursing home, staff members have a duty to continually provide the resident with the appropriate level of nursing care, medical care and personal attention.

Nursing home staff members are responsible for the residents’ well-being and are required to report all signs of abuse or neglect, including those arising from resident-to-resident interactions.

One form of abuse or neglect that may be overlooked by staff members is senior bullying. Continue Reading Is My Elderly Parent Being Bullied?

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 provided by caregivers. The cameras are provided for free 30-day loans to families who suspect or question whether a care provider is abusing or neglecting their loved one.

Continue Reading New Jersey’s Safe Care Cam Program Expanded to Nursing Homes

Without a hearing, our new congress wasted no time in trying to severely limit damages in nursing home abuse claims. A newly proposed law called the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 H.R. 1215, seeks to limit non-economic damages in all medical cases to $250K for everyone in the country.

Continue Reading New Congress Trying to Protect Corporations from Nursing Home Abuse Claims

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 provided by caregivers. The cameras are provided for free 30-day loans to families who suspect or question whether a care provider is abusing or neglecting their loved one.

Continue Reading New Jersey’s Safe Care Cam Program Expanded to Nursing Homes