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Kentucky Injury Lawyers

Mishandled Allegations at a Kentucky Nursing Home Facility Allow for Three Cases of Abuse in One Month

Published on Nov 16, 2015 at 9:08 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Earlier this year, three residents at a nursing home facility in Louisville, KY were abused by staff members.  The Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center located at 1155 Eastern Parkway failed to provide protection for its residents and properly discipline the employees who committed the acts of abuse.  Following the first incident, the facility provided an Allegation of Compliance stating that it had properly removed the employee, provided training to all remaining employees, and notified State Agencies of the incident.  This report was found false when two more incidents of abuse were reported later that same month.

The first incident of abuse occurred when a Certified Nursing Assistant was harsh in speaking to a resident who was requesting to be repositioned.  The CNA responded to the resident angrily, stating that she had just repositioned her fifteen minutes ago, she would not do it again, and left the room.  The resident laid in bed in pain, too afraid to call for help, fearing the CNA would return angry again.

The second incident occurred eighteen days later and involved a different CNA and resident.  The allegation stated that the CNA was mean and rude and threw the bed covers over the resident’s head.  Though the CNA was removed from caring for the resident, she was still allowed to remain on the unit to care for other patients until a supervising staff member arrived and suspended her.

The third incident of abuse involved an Outreach Technician Restorative Aide who kissed a resident on the lips.  Although the act was observed and confirmed by other employees, the ORT Restorative Aide was allowed to continue working his full shift and cared for more than forty more residents before leaving for the day.  The facility did not report the sexual abuse to the State Survey Agency until two days later.

The Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center’s failure to protect residents after a reported allegation of abuse caused serious harm and potential injury.  Had the facility followed appropriate steps to resolve the first incident, the two succeeding incidents could have been prevented.   This nursing home has been cited for neglect, however it does not change the reality that incidents like these occur frequently in homes like it across the state.  Residents deserve to feel comfortable in the care they receive and their families should be able to trust that their loved ones are properly cared for.  If someone you love is living in a nursing home and you suspect they are being or have been abused, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information on what can be done to protect them.

Kentucky Nursing Homes Seek Reduction in Regulation and Monitoring of Safety and Quality Care for Residents

Published on Nov 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Kentucky nursing home representatives are seeking to protect their profits at the expense of residents by seeking a reduction in regulations established for patient safety and quality care.  Betsy Johnson, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, the heavily financed group lobbying for the industry, is campaigning against what she calls “overly strict enforcement of rules meant to ensure safety of residents.”  She calls Kentucky a “broken regulatory environment that only exacerbates the toxic litigation environment in Kentucky.” The nursing home industry has lobbied for years for a state law to limit lawsuits.

Fortunately, patients have advocates too.  While not nearly as well financed as the industry lobbyists, consumer advocates do what they can to protect nursing home residents from becoming victims. Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care, believes that lawmakers should consider the details of violations before accepting the industry’s claim that it is over-regulated.

An immediate jeopardy violation is one that causes harm, serious injury, or death, or is likely to do so.  Punishment for these violations come in the form of large fines against the facility, totaling as much as $10,000 a day.  Statistics show that Kentucky inspectors are more likely to cite immediate jeopardy violations than inspectors in other states.  The inspector general’s office monitors nursing homes on behalf of the federal government, which provides most of the funding for nursing home care.  In fiscal year 2015, Kentucky nursing homes received nearly $1 billion in Medicaid funds.  The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services uses a five-star quality rating system to evaluate how well facilities are meeting their residents’ clinical and physical needs.  Facilities are given a rating of one to five stars, with five being the highest.  Among the eight states in the CMS Atlanta region, Kentucky has the largest percentage of facilities that rank below average.  Only twelve percent of Kentucky facilities have five-star ratings.

Kentucky nursing homes have been fined nearly $16 million in the past three years because of their tragically poor care.  Some of the incidents reported include a scabies outbreak in a Nicholasville facility, a fistfight between a resident and an aide, and a fatal incident involving a resident falling out a wheelchair.  Maryellen Mynear, the inspector general for the Cabinet of Health and Family Services, stated in a letter to the committee lobbying for regulation reduction, “the fact that an industry believes it is over-regulated does not make it so.”  The debate continues as there are several Kentucky politicians that support a regulation reduction, arguing that it could result in a cost reduction that could be passed on to residents and their families if a facility was able to spend less money on meeting safety criteria.  Supporters for higher regulation respond with the argument that if facilities would properly care for their residents, there would be no reason to argue the issue or pay resulting violation fines.

Some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable people live in nursing home facilities where they have been threatened, ridiculed, slapped, injured, or sexually abused.  It is imperative that rules for safety and care are followed to the highest level.  When it comes to the quality of life for our loved ones living in these facilities, there is no excuse for poor service and performance.  If you wish to learn more about the regulation and violations of Kentucky nursing home facilities, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information or visit our nursing home neglect and abuse pages here.

American Senior Communities LLC Fires CEO after FBI Search

Published on Sep 21, 2015 at 6:18 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

According to Louisville’s Business First, American Senior Communities, a nursing home operator with more than 100 facilities, fired its CEO three days after the FBI raided his home and the corporation’s offices.  In contradicting statements the company now says the investigation has nothing to do with its facilities, but said in a statement on the day of the raid the FBI was conducting a “cost review.”  The company currently has plans to build a nursing home of more than 100,000 square feet in Louisville, Kentucky.

ASC is not without a history of fraud.  In 2010, the company reportedly paid the federal government a fine of some $376,000 as the result of its hiring practices.  According to the Indianapolis Star, the company was accused of hiring staff members who where ineligible to care for seniors under federal law because of criminal convictions or loss of their professional licenses.

Our seniors deserve better.  We will be anxiously watching the developments at American Senior Communities.

Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating: Your Tool for Finding the Right Care for Your Loved One

Published on Sep 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to assess the level of care given at nursing home facilities, allowing consumers, caregivers, and their families to quickly compare options and choose the right home for their loved ones.  Each nursing home is given a quality rating between 1 and 5 stars.  Nursing homes who receive 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality of care and those with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average.

The Nursing Home Compare Web site features one overall 5-star rating for each nursing home, and a separate rating for health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.  The health inspection rating considers information collected from on-site surveys at each location in the last three years. These Life Safety Code (LSC) surveys and Standard surveys are not announced to the facilities and can occur on any day of the week and at any time in a 24 hour period.  The CMS regional office determines a facility’s eligibility to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program and receive payment based on these on-site survey results and their compliance with the requirements in 42 CFR Part 483, Subpart B.

The staffing rating reflects the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day by the nursing staff, taking into consideration the differences in the levels of residents’ care need in each nursing home.  Nursing homes with residents who have more severe needs would be expected to have more nursing staff than a nursing home where the resident needs were not as high.

The quality measure rating contains eleven different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents to assess how well nursing homes are caring for their residents’ physical and clinical needs.  More than twelve million assessments of the conditions of nursing home residents are used in the Five-Star rating system, allowing the system to be a thorough evaluation and reliable resource for consumers and caregivers.

Every nursing home facility resident has the right to receive proper care.  If you feel that your loved one is a resident in a nursing home facility that has not been properly evaluated by CMS and the Five-Star Quality Rating System, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.

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Nursing Home Staffing Regulations: A Necessity that Sometimes Gets Overlooked

Published on Jul 20, 2015 at 11:52 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Last week we talked about Hurstbourne Care Centre at Stony Brook, a Louisville adult care facility which will be forced to have its Medicare agreement terminated due to poor conditions that were negatively affecting both the health and safety of its residents. Situations like this happen all too often and are extremely painful for both the residents and their family members. In a second blog posted earlier this week, we shared advice for family members who might one day find themselves in a similar situation.

Why are such conditions allowed to happen, though? Nursing homes and adult care facilities are heavily regulated and inspected by agencies like Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Adult Protective Services, but issues still sometimes fall through the cracks. In most cases, poor conditions can be linked back to one thing that is often overlooked—improper facility staffing regulations.