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Iowa’s nursing homes riddled with problems

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.

Dangerous use of restraints persists at homes for disabled

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 26, 2014

Six years after falling under fire for immoral and restrictive treatment of persons with disabilities, the state of Minnesota still harshly disciplines persons with disabilities living in assisted facilities, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report.

Disciplinary practices include strapping patients to furniture and secluding them, and are enforced for infractions as minor as touching objects that caretakers don’t want touched, according to The Star-Tribune.

A federal court monitor filed a 57-page report last week that probes into the states treatment of its 35,000 persons with disabilities in 1,300 state-licensed programs, homes and facilities, the Star-Tribune reported. The state could come under disciplinary action itself, now.

More than 900 people with disabilities were restrained as a form of disciplinary action in the last 14 months, according to the report. The report detailed 70 of those cases that involved patients being left secluded, and 40 others during which patients were mechanically restrained, the Star-Tribune reported.

The Star-Tribune also reports that over that time period 289 patients were subjected to prone restraints, a technique that involves holding a patient’s face to the ground. The reports surfaces even though prone restraints are banned in state facilities because of their danger.

“It is reprehensible that we are still allowing providers to engage in practices that are universally condemned and potentially fatal,” Roberta Opheim, state ombudsman for mental health and disabilities, told the Star-Tribune.

In one situation, a disabled woman was left strapped to a chair for nine hours per day for months. She was not allowed food or bathroom breaks, according to the Star-Tribune.

In another case, a disabled woman was strapped by her shoulders, waist and arms to a metal chair for up to nine hours per day. Again, this woman was not allowed food or to use the bathroom.

Click here to read more about this story.

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

Nursing home aid pleads guilty to sexually abusing patient

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 23, 2014

A former nursing home worker in Missouri pleaded guilty earlier this week to abusing elder nursing home patients he was supposed to be protecting.

Walter Javier Martinez, of Ballwin, Missouri, was sentenced to one year in county jail, according to KSDK.com. Martinez is banned from having any employment with the elderly as part of the plea.

The inappropriate incidents took place at a nursing home in Ellisville, Missouri. Martinez was originally charged with deviate sexual assault, forcible rape and sodomy, KSDK.com reported.

The guilty plea continues a disturbing national trend of caretakers abusing their power.

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:   Sexual Abuse

Nursing home faces sanctions after maggots found in resident’s bandaged wound

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 23, 2014

A Maine nursing home’s failure to install proper windows and screens led to an infestation of flies which led to maggots being found living in a resident’s wounds, according to WGME 13 News.

Now federal sanctions have comedown against the nursing home, Eastside Center for Health and Rehabilitation, on Mt. Hope Avenue in Bangor, Maine, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bangor Daily News reports that flies were allowed to fester in the building because the nursing home “failed to ensure the environment was free from hazards associated with windows with broken and missing screens,” according to the DHHS.

The resident victim suffered burning and itching in her chest area, where a wound was supposed to be healing. But “when the bandage was removed, the staff observed that the resident had maggot larvae coming out of the resident’s chest open area,” the DHHS said.

The state has suggested a $500 fine for every day the home was out of compliance and putting its residents at risk of infection, according to WGME 13. The facility was also cited back in 2001 for a myriad of issues including abuse, neglect and care deficiencies, according to WGME 13.

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.

Michigan to get nearly $3.5M in U.S. settlement with Extendicare nursing home chain

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 22, 2014

The federal government accused Extendicare Health Services, the chain that operates 440 long-term nursing homes across the country and recently agreed to pay a $38 million in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud lawsuit, of “failing to provide appropriate care, follow safety protocols or maintain enough skilled nurses,” according to Crain’s Detroit Business News.

More details of the company’s misconduct were also revealed after the settlement. Crain’s reports that these include “head injuries to residents, falls, bed sores and fractures and cases of malnutrition, dehydration and infection,” and span across 33 facilities in eight states.

Included in those eight states were Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The company must pay close to $32 million to the federal government as settlement of the lawsuit, which mainly accused Extendicare of chronically overbilling Medicare and Medicaid for goods and services. Now accusations of darker infractions are coming to light.

“Protecting this nation’s vulnerable populations, including our seniors, has been and continues to be one of this department’s highest priorities,” acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said, according to the Associated Press.

Whistleblowers filed complaints against the company in 2010 and in 2013. The government’s accusations of mistreatment and dangerous conditions cover a six year range from 2007 to 2013.

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, 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, News

Nursing home consultant indicted

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 22, 2014

Albany County (New York) continues to employ a high-ranking nursing home consultant who is facing misdemeanor charges of misconduct in light of violations of the heath care system’s procurement policy, according to the Albany Times Union.

Each sentence carries up to a year in jail, the Times Union reported. Larry Slatky allegedly violated the policy by steering contracts to a company run by a friend. Slatky is paid up to $27,000 per month by Albany County, the Times Union reported.

“The rules for awarding public contracts are designed to ensure fairness for bidders and to protect taxpayers,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement “My office will continue to investigate and hold accountable anyone who violates this trust and these rules that exist to protect the public.”

Slatky has worked as a consultant for Albany County since the end of last year, according to the Times Union. The county told the paper it wasn’t surprised by the indictments and that Slatky’s job is safe, despite the charges.

He is accused of playing favorites while mediating a laundry service bid in 2010 on Long Island. Slatky bypassed some bidding companies entirely before awarding it to a company run by a friend, according to the Times Union.

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

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