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Ask a Personal Injury Attorney: Aren’t Lawyers Expensive?

Published on Jul 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm in Uncategorized.

Hiring an attorney can be a daunting task. How do you choose one? How do you know what type of lawyer to hire? What’s it like to work with an attorney and how do you know what’s expected of you? These are all questions you’re likely to have while browsing the website of an attorney, but don’t worry—we’re here to help.

Every firm’s site is filled with the same, boastful claims and pages and pages of legal speak that aren’t immediately useful. What’s useful? Answers. Real answers. Every two weeks roughly, we’ll be posting a common question a client new to the legal world might have, and we’ll provide real, honest answers to that question.  

Attorney General Candidate Andy Beshear Releases Plan to Protect Kentucky Seniors

Published on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:06 am in Uncategorized.

The attorneys and staff at Thomas Law Offices spend a great deal of time working to protect Kentucky seniors who have suffered personal injuries as the result of nursing home fraud, neglect and abuse.  Which is why I applaud Attorney General Candidate Andy Beshear for recently publishing his six point plan to realign the priorities of the office of the Attorney General to make this worthy goal an even greater priority.  The Office of the Attorney General under the leadership of Attorney General Conway has done a great job of protecting seniors for the last eight years.  A Beshear administration will go even further by forming an office dedicated to seniors.  He would open an new office of investigators with a specific focus on senior related fraud and abuse, open a senior protection hotline and work  to coordinate non-profits with the same mission.

Read more about Beshear’s plan here:  http://www.andybeshear.com/my-plan/protecting-kentucky-seniors

For more information on what Attorney General Conway and his team already do to protect seniors visit: http://ag.ky.gov/Pages/protectingseniors.aspx



Published on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:44 pm in Uncategorized.

In July 2013, the Food and Drug Administration issued a drug safety alert for Benicar(olmesartan medoxomil), the medicine developed to help with high blood pressure and reduce the risk of serious medical problems. The alert came as a result of findings by the Mayo Clinic that Benicar and similar drugs like HCT, Azor, and Tribenzor were found to cause severe problems like sprue-like eneropathy and villous atrophy.

Symptoms of enteropathy severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss whereas villous atrophy damages the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients. The enteropathy in particular may not develop for months or years after taking these drugs. In the study done by the Mayo Clinic involving 22 patients, 14 of them had to be hospitalized for these symptoms. One of the patients even lost 125 pounds.

The FDA ordered these new side effects be added to drug labels but the product had been on the market for a long period of time by then. “The FDA’s evaluation found clear evidence of an association between olmesartan and sprue-like enteropathy. If patients taking olmesartan develop these symptoms and no other cause is found, the drug should be discontinued and therapy with another antihypersensitive started,” the agency stated. The FDA considered these side effects life threatening in its report.

Kentucky’s High Rate of Nursing Home Fines & Penalties

Published on Mar 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm in Uncategorized.

Of the 20 nursing homes in the country with the most government fines, five of them are in Kentucky. Kentucky also has three nursing homes listed among the top 20 in the nation that were cited for the most serious deficiencies.

The list is compiled by ProPublica, which is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism. The data is drawn from government databases, and includes deficiencies cited by regulators and the penalties imposed over the past three years.

Nursing Homes with the Most Fines

The Kentucky nursing homes found to have received the most fines over the past three years are:

  • #5 – Somerwoods Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Somerset, KY: $564,000
  • #7 – Princeton Health & Rehab Center, Inc. in Princeton, KY: $560,000
  • #9 – Brownsboro Hills Health Care and Rehabilitation in Louisville, KY: $541,000
  • #13 – Tradewater Pointe, in Dawson Springs, KY: $484,000
  • #18 – NHC Healthcare, in Glasgow, KY: $436,000

The two homes nationwide with the most fines overall were Bradley Health Care & Rehab, in Cleveland, Tennessee, with $693,000 in fines, and the Siler City Center, in Siler City, North Carolina, with a total of $680,000 in fines.

Nursing Homes with the Most Serious Deficiencies

The Kentucky nursing homes among the worst in the country for most serious deficiencies over the last three years are:

  • #10 – Fountain Circle Care & Rehabilitation Center, Winchester, KY: 14 serious deficiencies
  • #11 – Signature Healthcare of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY: 13 serious deficiencies
  • #15 – Hearthstone Place, Elkton, KY: 13 serious deficiencies

The worst levels of deficiencies in the U.S. were found at Graceland Nursing Center in Memphis, Tennessee, which had 28 serious deficiencies, the Care Inn of Abilene, Texas, which had 23, and the Courtyards at Fort Worth, Texas, which had 21.

An example of the types of problems leading to such serious levels of citations can be seen at the Princeton Health & Rehab Center. Many of its violations were found in 2012. In one case that lead to a resident’s death, records show that a nurse gave the resident pain medication at 2:00 a.m. Then two hours later at 4:00 a.m., staff helped the resident sit up at the side of the bed, and left the resident sitting alone in the room. The resident fell off the bed, suffered a head injury, and later died from internal bleeding.

Nursing Homes Still Over-Sedating And Rarely Punished For It

Published on Feb 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm in Uncategorized.

Despite a campaign by the federal government to get nursing homes to stop overmedicating residents, National Public Radio reports that the abuse of antipsychotics to restrain residents continues. It turns out regulators rarely fine homes for this abuse, which leaves them free to continue the practice.

Last year, the Boston Globe reported that antipsychotic overuse is prevalent in many of the country’s nursing homes, and that in 2010, about 185,000 residents were given the drugs without a valid reason. The Globe reported, “Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that in 21 percent of US nursing homes that year, at least one-quarter of the residents without illnesses recommended for antipsychotic use received the medications.”

Antipsychotic drugs are helpful for people with serious mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The drugs are not approved to treat symptoms of dementia. NPR writes, “For older people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, they can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has given these drugs a black box warning, saying they can increase the risk of heart failure, infections and death. Yet almost 300,000 nursing home residents still get them.”

Despite the federal government’s 2012 push to get homes to end overuse of antipsychotics, records show that regulators rarely give any penalties to homes that continue their use.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say they are in a “partnership” with nursing homes and working to educate them. Yet a nursing home ombudsman in Texas told NPR she has offered to conduct on-site training at nursing homes and less than 10 out of nearly 100 homes in her county elected to participate.

In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe found that from 2009-2011, only 27 homes were cited for unnecessary use of antipsychotics.

In the Massachusetts cases where homes were cited, “inspection reports described residents who had been on antipsychotics for months, and sometimes years, without evidence that staff tried to wean them off — as required by federal law. And a few reports detailed instances in which residents were so overmedicated they were unable to open their mouths to eat, or do much of anything besides sleep.”

In none of those cited incidents did the inspector deem the problem as serious, and none of the homes were fined.

A policy attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy told NPR that there is a law on the books that the government could enforce. It’s the Nursing Home Reform Act passed two decades ago, which states that residents have a right to be free from chemical restraints. It also states that antipsychotics should only be given when medically necessary.