Town Hall Meetings on Nursing Homes Identify Caregiver Concerns
April 30th, 2009
Wes Bledsoe, the founder of a national watchdog group for nursing homes, has called for a change on how substantiated abuse cases are cited and how they influence the rating of nursing homes on the federal Medicare.gov Web site. During recent town hall meeting, Bledsoe asked the audience members what they would like to know about a nursing home if they were searching for one for a loved one. The answer: They would want to know if there has been mistreatment or any kind of abuse. Bledsoe then went through numerous Minnesota Department of Health reports that clearly showed substantiated abuse but because the facilities self-reported the incidents and implemented a plan of correction before the state health department arrived, they were not cited any deficiencies. The HensonFuerst Nursing Home Abuse lawyers understand many families of nursing home residents rely heavily on this government rating system, and they suggest caregivers demand accurate and complete information.
Click to read the entire article from The Albert Lea Tribune.
Conversion from Private Funds Payment to Medicaid Causes Evictions
April 28th, 2009
Assisted Living Concepts, a Wisconsin-based company that, according to its Web site, operates 216 assisted-living residences with capacity for more than 9,000 residents in 20 states is being criticized for its decision to cut down on Medicaid recipients, even ones who first entered their facilities with the ability to pay from private funds. ALC was harshly scolded in a 48-page state Public Advocate’s Office report that said when the chain began evicting tenants once they spent their money and moved to Medicaid “it caused the company’s New Jersey residents to suffer significant harm.” The report said the Office of Ombudsman, which investigates abuse, neglect and exploitation in long-term centers, noticed a significant uptick in a variety of complaints against Assisted Living Concepts during the spring and summer of 2007.
Click to read the entire article from The Press of Atlantic City.
Appalling Arguments from Lawyers who Defend Nursing Homes
April 28th, 2009
Nursing home residents suffer many different kinds of injuries due to nursing home negligence—broken bones, pressure sores, skin tears, malnutrition and dehydration. Perhaps the worst injury they suffer is the injury to their dignity, their self-respect. Many nursing home residents are completely helpless, and need the nursing home staff to do everything for them, including cleaning them up every two hours, so that they won’t have to lie in their own waste for hours at a time. But all too often, the nursing home doesn’t realize how terrible it is for these residents to have to endure the discomfort, the smell, the sheer embarrassment and injury to their dignity that results from having to exist in this manner on a regular basis.
In fact, just last week, Nursing Home Litigation team member Carmaletta Henson was arguing a motion before a judge regarding this same issue. “I explained to the judge what a horrendous injury to a person’s dignity and sense of self-worth it is for them to have to lie in their own waste for hours at a time, because the nursing home doesn’t have enough staff to change them”.
The responsive argument from the defense counsel for the nursing home facility was quite telling. She argued that this resident didn’t develop pressure sores or any other physical injuries as a result of having to lie in her own waste for hours on end, so there was no “injury”, and a jury should not be asked to value this non-injury. This is a perfect example of the cold and heartless response we oftentimes see from nursing homes and their lawyers, a response that we fight to change. The injury to these residents is clear, and senseless. This is an injury that should never happen.
Nursing home owners MUST provide adequate staff to meet the needs of the residents, including their need to be changed and kept clean. If they can’t provide that level of care for whatever reason, if they can’t meet the needs of the residents, then they should get out of the business and allow others, who are willing to spend the time and the money to meet the residents’ needs, to step in. This is the change that we at Henson Fuerst fight for everyday.
Rocky Mount auto accident kills man, injures five
April 23rd, 2009
April 23, 2009
The Rocky Mount Telegram reported that a local man lost his life in a recent Rocky Mount car accident.
The man was driving his car down the road when he hit the back end of a parked sport utility vehicle.
He died at the scene of the Rocky Mount auto accident.
The five occupants of the SUV suffered some minor injuries in the North Carolina car accident and were taken to a local hospital to be treated.
The Rocky Mount auto accident attorneys at HensonFuerst can help if you were injured in a North Carolina car accident.
Injured War Zone Contractors and the Fight to Get Care
April 23rd, 2009
There is controversy behind insurance companies profiting off the policies of injured American contractors who have been alongside our service members in both Iraq and Afghanistan. AIG is one of the insurers that have increased profits by denying claims for injured contractors who need services that range from basic medical care to artificial limbs. As Congress investigates, it is hoped that justice is found for those brave Americans who have suffered at the hands of an insurance company’s greed and continues to fight for their access to the courts.
Please navigate to the full Los Angeles Times article that ran regarding AIG and contractor’s insurance policies.
FDA Needs Subpoena Power
April 21st, 2009
In light of the a new FDA rule that says that some Class III medical devices approved during the 1970’s must now prove their safety, here at HensonFuerst we believe that these and many other outdated yet approved devices are receiving not only an unjust loophole, but also an unsafe one under the Riegel v. Medtronic decision that determined that because of preemption, it is difficult to sue a medical device maker for a device that has been approved by the FDA. It is especially unsettling that the process by which these products have been approved has been grossly negligent for such a long time. Furthermore, FDA has no subpoena power—making manufacturers even unaccountable to the government.
Please navigate to the Fierce Pharma website for an article on Bart Stupak’s push for FDA to have subpoena power.
Also, click to read an article from ZDNet Healthcare which talks further about the FDA’s re-approval of devices that have been preempted by federal law considered free from litigation.
Two Former Nurse’s Aides Indicted for Abuse at Madison Manor
April 15th, 2009
Two former Nurse’s aides, Amanda Sallee and Valerie Lamb, were indicted Thursday by a Madison County grand jury for abuse or neglect of an adult in connection with the videotaped abuse of a former resident. The incident occurred at Madison Manor in Richmond, KY, which is a part of Richmond Health and Rehabilitation Center. Sallee’s indictment accuses her of not offering meals to or offering to help feed the resident, 84-year-old Armeda Thomas of Irvine, but instead eating the food herself. The indictment also accuses her of putting Thomas at risk for infection by improperly cleaning her. The Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Division began investigating the nursing home after Thomas’ family installed a video camera in her room because they were suspicious of possible abuse.
For the full news article, please navigate to The Richmond Register.
Senior Abuse, Neglect Bill Passes After Four Years in West Virginia
April 15th, 2009
After four years, Delegate Dave Perry’s bill to make crime of abusing or neglecting an incapacitated adult a more serious offense in West Virginia has finally passed. There were seven or eight revisions, and even an effort made by fellow delegate John Overington. Eventually a final version was sent to Governor Joe Manchin stating that any caregiver who neglects such adults or knowingly allows someone else to do so is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $100 to $500. If abuse is present, then the penalty could be a jail term of 90 days to one year, or both. If abuse is intentional and malicious, then the crime is elevated to a felony with fine ranges from $100 to $1,000 along with a prison term of two to 10 years. When the injury is more severe then the fine can reach $5000, and the guilty party can face a prison sentence of between three to 15 years. The bill even goes on to state that if the injury is malicious and fatal, the sentence is a prison term only, that can reach up to 40 years. In the end Perry was quoted saying, “I was real pleased this bill passed. For the last two weeks, there were continued discussions and working and reworking on the bill.”
Please click to read the complete article from The Register-Herald.
Are North Carolina Nursing Homes Being Inspected Often Enough?
April 9th, 2009
The State of North Carolina has 106 state inspectors who are expected to properly inspect the state’s 435 nursing homes. That gives each inspector a caseload of roughly four facilities; inspectors review those nursing homes at least once every 15 months. In Harnett County, leaders said that local inspectors could do reviews every two months and, in the meantime, respond to complaints immediately. But, Federal law permits only state inspectors – not county inspectors – to evaluate the county’s four nursing homes. Yet, some of those nursing homes have repeatedly been cited for violations by federal and state inspectors. For example, Harnett Manor, a one-star facility, has been noted for violations such as “not controlling the fly population,” “showers beds and potty chairs stored dirty” and “feces present.”
Click to read the entire story from www.wral.com.
Should the Elderly be Subjected to the Mentally Ill?
April 9th, 2009
An elderly patient at a Chicago nursing home was killed by his younger, mentally ill roommate, raising questions and concerns about mixing the mentally ill with the elderly. The Illinois Department of Health says there are no laws against mixing the mentally ill and elderly in nursing homes, but the facilities are required to do extensive screening on patients and establish a long-term care plan. While there are no laws against mixing the mentally ill and the elderly in nursing homes, the HensonFuerst team of nursing home abuse lawyers take this opportunity to pass along the nationwide toll-free number for the National Nursing Home Abuse Hotline: (800) 458-9858. This number can be called to report any abuse in any nursing home in any state in America.
Click to read the entire story from www.weaunews13.com