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Too many nursing homes still don’t meet fire-safety rules despite deadline

Too many nursing homes still don’t meet fire-safety rules despite deadline

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 12, 2014

June Liccione monitored her mother’s health for years as her mother spent the last part of her life in and out of nursing homes. Liccione always had her mother’s health on her mind. Was she being properly treated? Properly fed? Properly cared for?

“There were so many other things to worry about,” Liccione told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I didn’t worry about a fire.”

But a recent survey illustrates just how susceptible nursing home residents are to the usually forgotten threat of a fire. The government recently released a damming report that accuses hundreds of nursing home facilities around the country of failing to comply with adequate sprinkler system requirements. Fires devastated two nursing homes in 2003 killing a combined 31 people, according to the Star-Tribune.

“That’s really quite shocking,” David Randolph Smith, an attorney who represented the families of the victims of one of the blazes, told the Star-Tribune. “Lots of things catch on fire in these buildings. Some of them are so old that they have polyurethane insolation. They’re tinder boxes in many cases.”

Many incoming residents never give these threats any thought, reported the Star-Tribune.

In an attempt to eliminate this doubt, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will deny payment and terminate provider agreements with facilities that fail to comply. All nursing home facilities were required to comply by last year.

Thirty-six of the noncomplying facilities are run by local and state governments, the Star-Tribune 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.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Year after federal deadline, hundreds of nursing homes still don’t meet fire-safety rules

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 12, 2014

Almost 400 nursing homes across the country failed to meet a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deadline requiring the implementation of adequate sprinkler systems. This after an industry history of deadly fires. In total, up to 52,000 people could be at risk, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“This is intolerable in this day and age,” Ben Lee, executive director of advocacy group Families for Better Care, told the Star-Tribune. “It’s not like they don’t have money to put these systems in. They have the money. They just choose not to do so.”

The Star-Tribune reported that 44 of the homes don’t have any sprinklers at all. The others feature systems that don’t meet safety regulations.

Fire prevention tools and structures are particularly important in nursing home facilities, where residents are often unable to hastily evacuate.

Thirty-one people were killed in nursing home fires in 2003, the year sprinkler systems were made required in newly built facilities. Sixteen people were killed in a fire at Greenwood Health Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and 15 were killed at a nursing home in Nashville, Tennessee. Neither facility had automatic sprinkler systems at the time, reported the Star-Tribune.

The CMS required older buildings to install automatic sprinkler systems in 2008, giving the facilities until 2013 to do so, the Star-Tribune reported.

More than a year past the deadline, hundreds of facilities still fail to comply to the rule, putting thousands of lives in jeopardy.

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.

TOPICS:   Burns, News

Woman claims nursing home caretaker assaulted her

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 11, 2014

A handicapped woman says she was sexually assaulted by someone who was supposed to be her caretaker at a nursing home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to KOAT 7 ABC News.

Sex crimes detectives are investigating the incident, which happened earlier this month at Princeton Place Rehab and Nursing Home in northeaster Albuquerque.

The alleged victim cannot walk or move her legs well, according to ABC. The identity of her and her family was hidden for privacy purposes.

She called her family after the incident distraught and shaken. ABC described the her as “in a panic” after the incident.

Members of the woman’s family told ABC that they don’t feel safe leaving her in the nursing home anymore. The family wants the alleged assailant brought to justice.

Click here to watch 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.

TOPICS:   Sexual Abuse

Medical superbugs: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria carried by more than a third of nursing home residents, study

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 11, 2014

Over-administering and overuse of antibiotics in nursing homes has led to the presence of superbugs, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, in more than one third of nursing home residents in Australia, according to an ABC News report.

A study out of Monash University found that more than half of the infected patients had recently received antibiotics, proving the bugs impervious to the drugs and opening the possibility that they could be actually spawned from them.

The study warns that the increasing rate of antibiotic overuse could make the superbugs more widespread, according to ABC News.

“They aren’t the safety net that we think they are,” Monash professor Anton Peleg told the news. “They do have consequences and the consequences of overuse, or inappropriate use, is the development of these antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

Peleg warned that understaffing issues and service inadequacy problems lead to the increased dependence on antibiotics. Bacteria can live and foster in carpets, beds and other living conditions in nursing homes, where they are much more difficult to control. The preventive measures taken at hospitals are not practical in nursing homes, leaving patients highly susceptible.

“Our concern is that nursing homes are acting as a sort of reservoir, if you like, of antibiotic resistant bacteria,” he said.

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.

Disabled retiree disgruntled with nursing home care

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 11, 2014

A nursing home patient paralyzed from the waist down complains of mistreatment and neglect in an Iowa nursing home, saying workers don’t follow techniques and ignore his calls for help.

Hershel Smith was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 2008 and has lived in nursing homes ever since, the Des Moines Register reports.

But he is not satisfied with his new residence.

He’s not alone.

Iowa received an “F” rating in an annual nursing home review conducted by nonprofit Families for Better Care, according to the Register. This year Iowa dropped in the national rankings as well. The Register reported that Families for Better Care ranked Iowa nursing homes 46th in the nation.

The Register reports that Iowa has eight long-term care ombudsmen, who are required to hear complaints and resolve issues of more than 54,000 nursing home patients living in the state. We will repeat that again.

That’s eight ombudsmen for 54,000 patients. “I’ve run out of advocates,” he told the Register.

Nursing homes themselves are also commonly understaffed, reports the Register.

The state has been ravaged by nursing home injuries, deaths and sexual assaults in recent years.

From the Des Moines Register story: dangerous conditions have become more prevalent, residents have a harder time getting help from caregivers and an overwhelming percentage of registered complaints are verified by the state’s overworked ombudsmen.

Smith said he feels desperate when his wife can’t be at the home to take care of him, and he is left with the home staff. At one point, he ditched the home for a motel.

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

Extendicare Announces $38M Settlement With U.S. Government

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 8, 2014

Extendicare Health Services, Inc. does not expect the lump-sum $38 million settlement it agreed to pay the government to affect them, according to a press release detailing the agreement.

The settlement finalizes investigations and claims brought up by the Department of Justice and Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that date all the way back to 2010.

Extendicare is now subject to a period of compliance during which it will be monitored by the Office of the Inspector General for five years, according to the press release. The Office of the Inspector General will monitor Extendicare for compliance in implementing and maintaining heath care program requirements in skilled nursing home facilities.

But “Extendicare does not expect the settlement to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business or long-term consolidated financial position,” according to the press release, despite the obvious funding lost that could have gone to improving services.

Extendicare operates 440 long-term care facilities across North America, including eight nursing homes in Minnesota. Extendicare Health Services Inc. is the corporation’s “wholly owned U.S. subsidiary,” according to the press release.

Click here to read the entire press release.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities, including Extendicare nursing homes, 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:   Extendicare

Report Shows Rampant Patient Harm in Skilled Nursing Facilities

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 8, 2014

Are you suspicious that your loved one is being harmed by the nursing home care that is supposed to be nurturing him or her?

A new study shows that you may be right, even if you don’t want to believe it.

According to AARP, one of every three skilled nursing home patients were harmed by the treatment he or she received. The study was released by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Harm” includes infection, medical errors and conditions such as extreme bleeding, kidney failure, blood clots and fluid imbalances, according to AARP. The patients consisted of those who received care following a hospital stint.

The study said that physicians found 59 percent of the mistakes preventable, while 1.5 percent of the mistakes contributed to a patient’s death.

Those numbers translate into 1,500 patients dying in one month alone as a result of complications from nursing home mistreatment, out of around 22,000 patients harmed, according to AARP.

Much of the mistreatment resulted in hospital re-admittance, to the cost of up to $208 in a single month for Medicare, according to AARP. When stretched over a full year, those costs balloon to $2.8 billion, the report says.

Click here to read the full AARP article.

Click here to read the study by the Department of Health and Human Services / Office of Inspector General, entitled “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries.”

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.

Rochester, Minnesota nursing home neglect causes resident’s death

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 6, 2014

Neglect led to a nursing home patient in Rochester, Minnesota who “fell, broke her neck and died,” while being transferred from her bed to her wheelchair, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. She was 95.

Maple Manor Healthcare and Rehab was cited in April for neglect in the death. The patient fell between three and four feet from her EZ lift, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.

Investigators detailed the gruesome account.

“The rubber safety catch on the mechanical lift failed to secure the harness in place and the resident fell out of the harness sideways during transfer,” the investigators wrote.

Investigators cited neglect after Maple Manor failed to provide records of lift inspectors, maintenance or prior incidents to the Department of Health, which found that safety catch problems had been occurring at the facility for six to nine months before the fatal fall, the Post Bulletin reported.

The nursing home admitted to continuously trying to fix EZ lift machines with grommets, which proved defective, instead of metal retrofit, the Post Bulletin reported.

Maple Manor is responsible for about 40 people that depend on EZ lifts. The lifts are used about 60,000 times per year, according to the report.

The tragedy continued after the woman fell and struck her head on the floor. In addition to breaking her neck, she also fractured her spine. She “returned to the facility from the hospital with four staples in the back of her head,” investigators wrote.  She died three days later.

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.

Medicare fines record number of hospitals for excessive readmissions

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 6, 2014

For the third straight year hospitals are will be punished for excessive readmission rates, with penalties reaching up to three percent of Medicare bills. That is the highest fine in the history of the penalties, which were enacted with the Affordable Care Act.

MPR News reports that almost 20 percent of Medicare patients returned to the hospital within 30 days. “Boomerang patients” cost taxpayers an extra $26 billion, MPR reported.

Hospitals that had never faced fines before are now on Medicare’s list, and more were docked because of Medicare’s increasingly expansive list of tracked conditions. Hip and knee replacements an lung diseases were added to Medicare’s list of tracked conditions this year, MPR reported.

Generally, readmissions are good for hospital bottom lines but bad for patients, MPR reported. An overly excessive number, though, is bad for both.

Hospitals from 29 states were docked, some for infractions dating back as far as three years, according to MPR.

Dr. Stephen Jencks, a consultant who documented nationwide rising readmission rates, called the penalties a “really fairly modest step,” that “persuaded a lot of hospitals to talk in ways they simply were not talking 10 years ago.”

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by hospitals, 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

Woman claims nursing home supervisor said he’d “cut off her head”

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 5, 2014

A woman at an Oklahoma nursing home claims she was threatened  by a man who said he was acting on behalf of ISIS and that he would behead her, according to KOCO News in Oklahoma City.

The woman initially thought the threat was a joke, as the man, Jacob Muriithi, told police it was, according to KOCO. But “the suspect did make references to ISIS and an affiliation with them,” Oklahoma City Police Department Captain Dexter Nelson told KOCO.

When the woman heard about the beheading of a woman last week in Moore, Oklahoma, just outside Oklahoma City, she reported Muriithi, worked as a supervisor at the nursing home, Bellevue Nursing Home.

An affidavit says Muriithi said, “That is just what we do,” after being asked why ISIS kills Christians, according to KOCO.

Muriithi was arrested following the charge, which was upgraded to a terroristic threat by a district attorney, KOCO reported.

KOCO reports that Muriithi admitted he was Muslim and associated with ISIS, and that the remark came in reference to a piece of the woman’s jewelry that featured the Jewish Star of David.

The woman has not been named publicly, in an attempt to protect her safety in light of the events, which reportedly occurred on Sept. 13. The report was filed on Sept. 16.

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.

TOPICS:   News