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Falls are top reason for lawsuits against skilled nursing facilities, report states

Falls are top reason for lawsuits against skilled nursing facilities, report states

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 17, 2014

Patient falls, once again, are the most common cause of winning claims in lawsuits against nursing homes, according to a recently released insurance company report and McKnights.com.

Almost 42 percent of professional liability claims against facilities insured by CAN regarded falls in those facilities, according to McKnights. The next closest reason for claims came from pressure ulcers, which lagged way behind at 17.5 percent.

McKnights.com reports that the most common types of falls are falls from bed, which came in at 32.4 percent. Falls in the bathroom are also widespread, at 18 percent, the study said.

To read more about this study, click here.

McKnights.com reports that falls are also the top reason for claims at assisted living and continuing care facilities as well. The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Nurses getting wrist slaps for incompetence, drug use

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 17, 2014

The state of New York has proved slow, inadequate and both when it comes to disciplining nurses that put long-term care patients in harm’s way, and in doing so, emphasizes a nonchalance towards nursing home safety that has advocates up in arms.

The New York Post reports that the state of New York failed for a long time to act against nurses found to be high on drugs while caring for patients, before giving said nurses slaps on the wrist.

Kathy Dzus was high on cocaine while caring for patients at Good Samaritan Hospital on Long Island, New York, but received just a light fine.

The same went for Daniel McCarthy, who was high on painkillers while caring for patients, according to the Post. Both offenders worked at the same hospital.

Fifty New York City area nurses were disciplined by the state this year, the Post reports, proving criminal care can occur anywhere, at any time.

And even in those cases, New York is often slow to act.

Ted Hirsch, a registered nurse, pleaded guilty to attempted possession of child pornography in 2011. The New York State Board of Regents didn’t discipline him until three years later, the Post learned.

These are just a few examples of a long line of nurse misconduct that the state often turns a blind eye towards.

To read more about this story, click here.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Medication Errors

Nursing home manager accused of stealing $460K from residents

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 7, 2014

A former nursing home financial manager was charged earlier this month on two felony counts of embezzlement after allegedly embezzling $460,000 from residents over a three year period, according to multiple news outlets.

Tina Marie Binkley is accused of embezzling money from 136 residents of Boulevard Health Center in Rochester Hills, Michigan, after an accountant found “several significant points of financial concern,” in the home’s financial records.

Binkley allegedly took advantage of her authorization to access and manage the home’s finances. She is accused of transferring patient overpayments to separate accounts and withdrawing the funds for personal use, Macomb Daily reported.

She faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to three times the amount of money lost by residents, according to the Macomb Daily.

“Families deserved to know their loved ones in nursing homes are being cared for, not being exploited for personal financial gain,” Michigan Attorney General Schuette told the Macomb Daily. “Criminals attempting to victimize our greatest generation to line their own pockets will be brought to justice.”

Binkley was fired in April 2013, according to the Consumerist.

Binkley is also accused of bringing others into her scheme.

Click on the following link to learn more about this story: WXYZ ABC News.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Ebola issues in America’s nursing homes

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 5, 2014

The emergence of Ebola in the United States over the past few weeks has resulted in widespread caution across the medical field, and the resulting reactions range from feelings of stigmatization to heights of hysteria.

Two incidents on the East Coast this week highlight the pros and cons of cautionary strategies as medical officials continue to try and stop the spread of Ebola.

In Rhode Island, a nursing home worker with flu-like symptoms was rushed to the hospital. The worker had recently visited Nigeria, where cases of Ebola have been reported, but not widely dispersed (compared to in nearby countries such as Liberia and Sierra Lione). The woman in question works at Cherry Hill Manor nursing home. It was determined that she was not infected with Ebola shortly upon her arrival at the hospital.

“In an abundance of caution on our end, we treate dit that way,” Johnston Fire Chief Timothy McLaughlin told WPRI News. “We’ve been working on these protocols for a while. When we got here, we immediately suited up, complete head to toe, as put forth by the CDC.”

“She seemed to have all the symptoms,” he said.

Oretha Bestman-Yates, a nursing home worker in Staten Island, New York, and a native Liberian, does not have any symptoms of Ebola. And yet, she has not been allowed to return to work even after completing a 21-day quarantine following a trip back to Liberia this summer, according to McKnights.com.

Bestman-Yates said she is one of the several thousands Liberians in New York City that are being told not to report to work in hospitals and nursing homes, under assumptions that they are infected alone.

Liberia is one of the west African nations most severely afflicted with the disease.

Bestman-Yates feels west Africans working in the U.S medical field are being stigmatized. When allowed to work, they are being told not to touch patients, according to McKnights.com.

“People try to avoid you, pull away from you,” Best-Yates told IRIN, a humanitarian news and analysis website. “I’ve had people tell me “We brought Ebola to the United States.’ Parents are telling their children to stay away from our children at school.”

IRIN asserts that stigma is on the increase due in part to a lack of knowledge about the geography of West Africa.

“There is not a lot of knowledge in the US about Africa – let alone West Africa,” activist Bobby Digi told IRIN. “They are painting the whole area with a very broad brush.”

That brush is resulting in various colors of caution, being exercised across the country.

To read more about Ebola issues relating to America’s nursing homes, check out the following resources:

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   News, Sepis / Infection

Hidden camera reveals nursing home aides abusing Alzheimer’s patient

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 4, 2014

The man, a vulnerable residents of a nursing home, would repeatedly show phantom bruises on his body that his condition didn’t allow him to explain. Worried and feeling helpless, his son installed security cameras to monitor his father’s room.

Mystery solved. Police charged care staff at the Palm Gardens Nursing Home — Yashika Jones and Rose Blaise — with battery of an elderly person after the cameras showed them hitting the patient, WFLA-TV reported.

“I did tell him that, I am so sorry for what he had to endure here,” the man’s son, Dale Wilson, told WFLA-TV. “I said I had no idea what was happening to you. I said, ‘I know there were people in here being mean to you. They can’t be mean to you anymore. They’re gone, I promise.’”

“This egregious behavior from these two who are supposed to be caring for our infirm is absolutely sickening,” Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird told WFLA-TV. The abusive acts are despicable. If you want to learn more details about this case, click here.

Six employees are under investigation, according to the report, after the videos found the man being physically and mentally abused on several occasions last month. This did not prove to be a one time incident, instead a continuous cycle of bullying with little consequence. Until now.

Medicare’s annual inspection of the Palm Garden Nursing Home resulted in repeated citations for the facility’s failure to “provide care by qualified persons according to each resident’s written plan of care.”

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Physical Abuse

Nursing home rating system gets big fixes

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 4, 2014

A sudden and suspicious leap in the amount of nursing homes earning high rankings has led the federal government to announce changes to the five-star ranking system, to be implemented early next year, according to HT Health.

One significant change to the system will allow a electronic reporting system to verify payroll and patient information submitted by nursing homes themselves. This nationwide auditing program will strive to ensure reported information is accurate. That information, now, will also include statistics on residents administered anti-psychotic drugs, HT Health reported.

“We are focused on using as many tools as are available to promote quality improvement and better outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Formerly, hand-written submission forms were rarely audited, according to HT Health.

More than 15,000 nursing homes across the country are rated using the current system, which directs consumers based on a variety of factors including quality of care. The government said the expanded system will make rankings more accurate while also offering consumers more information into formerly unreleased statistics like staff turnover.

This after nursing homes nationwide seemed to realize that ranking high on the rating system was a formula just needed to be learned.

The number of homes that held four or five-star rankings almost doubled in four years, from 36 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2013, HT Health reported.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Iowa’s nursing homes riddled with problems

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 30, 2014

It was a bad year for the state of Iowa and its nursing home residents, as long-term patients suffered from a drop in quality of care and services that saw state facilities drop to one of the country’s worst rankings.

Families for Better Care rankings were released recently, and Iowa fell five spots from 2013. Iowa’s facilities are now collectively ranked 46th best in the country, or 5th worst.

According to Families for Better Care, “dangerous conditions became more prevalent in Iowa’s nursing homes as severe deficiencies swelled 7 percent over the last year,” and “Iowa’s nursing home residents continued to have a difficult time getting much needed help from caregivers.”

The report said residents received less than two hours and 25 minutes of direct care per day, and that nine of 10 state nursing homes were cited for one or more infractions.

“Iowa’s nursing homes remain riddled with problems as the ombudsman program investigated and verified an overwhelming percentage of registered complaints,” the report read.

Iowa ranked last in the central region in direct staffing hours and percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies, according to the report.

Click here to read the full story in the Des Moines Register.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Troubled nursing homes in Kentucky

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 30, 2014

Some of the worst nursing home facilities reside in the state of Kentucky, according to national rankings for quality of care, staffing and service.

One-third of Kentucky’s 284 nursing homes scored two stars or fewer out of five stars on the national Nursing Home Compare website, which is operated by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, KYCIR reported.

KYCIR reports that only eight states had a higher percentage of such low rankings, placing Kentucky in the bottom fifth in the country in long-term care quality.

In 2013 the state was faced with 190 cases of nursing home patients experiencing “immediate jeopardy” due to quality of care, according to KYCIR and the Health and Family Services Cabinet. On its annual Families for Better Care report, the state of Kentucky received a letter grade of “D.”

“That just shows there is widespread abuse, neglect, mistreatment of residents occurring in far too many nursing homes,” Families for Better Care executive director Brian Lee told KYCIR.

Yet despite all this, the state of Kentucky is pushing legislation that would make it more difficult to file suits against state facilities, KYCIR reports. Fourteen Republican senators that have voted for such bills have received financial support from Terry Forcht, owner of one of the most deadly nursing home facilities in the state.  Click here to learn more about Mr. Forcht’s efforts to minimize nursing home accountability.

Click here to read KYCIR’s full report.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Powerful owner of harmful nursing home wants to avoid accountability

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 28, 2014

A nursing home in Kentucky serves as a site of continued horrors, with long-term patients falling victim to abuse and neglect.

Hazard Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Hazard, Kentucky, was the site of two separate sexual assaults in 2009. In both cases the victim was a 91-year-old Alzheimer’s patient and one assault took place within sight of a caregiver, KYCIR reported.

Those incidents occurred in 2009. Two years later the center allowed dementia patient Glenda Lykins to fall 11 times, with the patient finally breaking her hip. Another patient had died from complications arising from bedsores and an ulcer, according to KYCIR.

The facility remains open despite heavy fines and a failure “to protect residents from unwanted sexual contact,” according to a state report. In regards to the sexual assaults, the state also said the facility “had knowledge that two male residents with cognitive impairment had a history of exhibiting sexual behaviors.

In 2012, the facility was cited again for “providing substandard quality of care” to another patient, according to KYCIR.

Five other cases against the nursing home are pending at the moment, KYCIR reported. Overall, the facility has been fined tens of thousands of dollars for its failures, but remains open and an example of how facilities meant to serve as later-year oases can turn into long-term nightmares.

Click here to review the KYCIR report.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Investigation revealed deficient care at nursing home, $28 million settlement

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 28, 2014

Days after Extendicare Health Services agreed to pay $38 million to settle with the federal government, another company, this one that operates The Arbors at Milford in Ohio, settled overbilling allegations for $28 million.

Allegations against the company brought up by the Ohio Attorney General include exuberantly overbilling Medicare and Medicaid for services, according to WKRC 12 News in Cincinnati.

The company is said to operate nearly 30 other facilities – spread across seven states – around the country as well as the Arbors at Milford location.

The government’s charges are not limited to paperwork and compliance. The nursing home is also accused of failing to follow safety protocol and skimping on hiring enough skilled care workers. The residents at these facilities experiences falls and bed sores, according to WKRC 12 News.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.