Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

The results of a six-year study by Georgetown University Medical Center revealed that nursing home costs are increasing across America, and quite rapidly. The future does not look so bright as far as nursing homes are concerned. 

Dr. Sean Huang, the study’s lead author, said the brutal dynamic governing long-term care in the U.S.—where many nursing home residents must spend down the bulk of their life savings before qualifying for federal assistance—is intensifying. California, Florida, New York and Texas all saw increases that far outstripped the 11.6% rise in inflation from 2005 to 2010, the period reviewed by Georgetown’s analysis of eight states. Additional data show the upward trend has continued in the years since.

The baby boomers are not the only ones who should worry. Generation X, millennials and Generation Z might face an even darker old age. Rising wage pressure on a sector in need of workers is driving up costs, and unless Washington comes up with a fix, be it a version of “Medicare for All” or something less ambitious, the funding for some programs is projected to start running out in the next decade.

People with disabilities, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, etc., will use all of their wealth until it runs out because Medicare does not cover that. 

The study suggests that we will not see any improvements in these trends, and if anything, things will probably get worse.

Many Americans have no idea how Medicare works, including those approaching retirement. Eligibility for the program, a sort-of government health insurance policy largely for older Americans, generally begins at age 65, covering some of the costs of routine and emergency medical care. What it doesn’t cover are most aspects of long-term “custodial” care—as in nursing homes, where a large portion of Americans can expect to spend the last years of their lives.

That’s where Medicaid—state-administered coverage for Americans whose assets fall below a certain level—comes in. For those who qualify for nursing home admission, Medicaid generally requires that they exhaust most of their assets before qualifying for coverage. Without expensive long-term care insurance, which most people don’t have, an increasing number of older Americans are doing this. 

And their nest eggs are being depleted more quickly than ever. Huang’s study found nursing home price rises over the period measured generally outpaced increases in overall medical care (20.2%) and consumer prices (11.7%). For example, in California from 2002 to 2011, the median out-of-pocket cost for nursing home care increased 56.7%.

Huang and three co-authors began looking into the matter in 2013. With no central database, they had to collect information from each state as well as from individual nursing homes. Some states only had data through 2010, he said. In the end, they managed to crunch data from an average of 3,900 nursing homes for each of the years measured, representing approximately 27% of free-standing U.S. facilities.

Nursing homes in New York during the period reviewed had the highest average daily price, at $302, while Texas had the lowest average daily price, at $121. Additional information has shown that nursing home costs have continued to increase at a much higher rate than inflation, albeit slightly slower than during the study period.

In 2010 the average price per day for nursing home care in California was $217, up more than 30% (with Florida close behind) from 2005. In a more recent analysis, Huang calculated that from 2010 to 2015, nursing home prices in California rose more slowly, by roughly 19.6%, to $258 per day. However, inflation from 2010 to 2015 increased only 8.7%, he noted, adding that his research doesn’t point to any improvement going forward.

The median daily price for a private room in a California nursing home just last year was $323, while the national median was $275 per day, according to life insurance company Genworth. Looking at the issue from an annual perspective, the median cost in the U.S. for a private room in a nursing home was $100,375. Oklahoma provided the cheapest annual median cost, at $63,510, while Alaska was the most expensive at $330,873, Genworth data showed.

Nursing homes have long been a financial drain on most who need them, constituting one of the greatest risks retirees face when it comes to managing retirement funds, a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed. Unfortunately, the annual costs for nursing home care will continue to grow at a rate much faster than inflation, according to Urban Institute Senior Fellow Richard W. Johnson. 

More elderly Americans means more demand for nursing home care, and more demand for nursing home employees. Wages go up, and the cost is passed along to consumers.

In an industry that requires significant hands-on attention, technology can’t eliminate many jobs. And just when the labor market for nursing homes is already tight, uncertainty over U.S. immigration policies may further reduce the number of available workers, he said. In 2017 immigrants made up 23.5% of formal and nonformal long-term care sector workers, according to Health Affairs.

Home health aides and personal-care aides are ranked as the third- and fourth-fastest growing occupations and are expected to increase 47% and 39%, respectively, from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Another trend that may be driving up costs is tied to Wall Street. Four out of the 10 largest for-profit nursing home chains were purchased by private equity firms from 2003 to 2008, according to a case study analyzing a private equity takeover. 

Research on the impact of private equity has yielded mixed conclusions, though one study revealed how a nursing home chain that was taken over by a private equity firm showed a general reinforcement of profit-seeking strategies already in place, while adding some strategies aimed at improving efficiency. Other reports, however, have detailed darker results.

Some states have started taking matters into their own hands. Washington state passed a bill in April that would implement a 0.58% payroll tax that would give residents up to $36,500 to pay for long-term care services. Payroll tax will begin collecting in 2022, while residents can start withdrawing in 2025. But that’s just one state, and the problem, Huang and Johnson note, is national in scope.

The only way they see nursing home quality to improve is if there would be a higher reimbursement rate, either by Medicaid or Medicare, but that is unlikely to happen in the near future. 

Paying for a Nursing Home Stay

There are essentially four main ways to pay for a nursing home stay:

  1. Cash out of your pocket
  2. Medicaid
  3. Private Long Term Care Insurance
  4. Medicare

What Does Medicaid Cover?

Medicaid is a joint federal and state government program that helps people with low income and little assets pay for their nursing home costs. As discussed in the article above, to be eligible for Medicaid, your income and asset levels can’t exceed levels set forth in your state. Medicaid officials will review your financial information over a certain number of years to determine if you have been getting rid of “wealth” in order to receive Medicaid. If you have assets over the allowable level, you are allowed to “spend down” or decrease your assets before you receive Medicaid. Typical spend down costs include medical expenses, mortgages and other debts, and funeral expenses. Also, your house and car are generally not counted against you for qualification purposes. 

You should also keep in mind that not all nursing homes accept Medicaid, so you’ll need to ask about a particular nursing home’s policy. You can find nursing homes that accept Medicaid by clicking here.

What is private long term care insurance?

Private long term care insurance is an insurance policy that’s purchased separate from your primary medical insurance, sort of like buying life insurance. In simpler terms, the insurance coverage that covers your doctor’s appointments and prescriptions won’t cover nursing home stays. If you want a nursing home cost covered, you’ll have to purchase long term care coverage. Long term care insurance can be very costly and not all policies are the same, so it is important to thoroughly evaluate all policy information before purchasing it. You can find out more about this type of insurance by clicking here.

What does Medicare cover for nursing home stays?

Medicare helps pay for short stays of no more than 100 days in a nursing home for a few reasons: 

  1. You were hospitalized recently for at least 3 days. 
  2. You were admitted to a Medicare-certified nursing home within 30 days of your prior hospital stay. 
  3. You need skilled nursing services.

The earlier you begin planning for the cost of nursing home care, the better chance you have of being able to afford it without causing you or your family a major financial hardship. No one wants to think about this kind of thing, but the reality is that the matter is getting worse, not better. We must think about these costs and plan, so that we can all have a better future with better nursing home care, if and when needed. 

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A caretaker is facing charges of abuse of a mentally disabled person after police said she hit several residents at a group home with a frying pan.

Darnika Martin is charged with two counts.

According to the arrest report, she struck two mentally ill patients at a group home in Pinellas Park.

The woman was unaware that cameras were rolling when she lunged at one of the residents with a frying pan.

The owner just happen to review his cameras over the weekend.

The woman apparently struck one man several times because he was attempting to get food from a bag.

The woman is out on a $10,000 bond.

People living in group homes are usually there because they cannot take care of themselves on a daily basis. These are some of the most vulnerable people in society, and sadly, neglect and abuse run rampant in these facilities. Even worse, people living in group homes are not able to tell others about what is happening to them.

If you have a loved one who is living in a group home, you may have reason to believe that neglect or abuse is happening. Our Tampa Bay Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you get the answers you need. We know the regulations that govern group home responsibilities, and what these institutions can and cannot do.

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A Florida caregiver is accused of abusing a 94-year-old amputee at an assisted living home.

The 64-year-old caregiver was arrested last week after the woman’s son placed a camera inside her room at the facility in Clermont.

An arrest report says the woman told her son the caregiver was being too “rough with her.” The son viewed the video footage and found his mother was being abused by her caregiver.

He reported what he saw to management at Crane’s View Lodge Assisted Living and Memory Care.

The caregiver was suspended and the facility reported the incident to the Department of Children and Families and police. She’s charged with abuse of an elderly person.

Placing a loved one in an assisted living facility or nursing home is a tough decision, but oftentimes necessary. You trust that the facility you choose will treat your loved one with the respect and dignity they deserve, but sadly this is not always the case.

Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are dedicated to protecting the rights of nursing home patients and ending nursing home neglect and abuse. If you suspect a loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse in a Florida nursing home or assisted living center, we have the experience and resources you need to secure justice and recover financial losses.

The first step in protecting your loved one from further harm is reporting suspected neglect or abuse. Contacting our team of attorneys is a great next step as we can help ensure your claim is thoroughly investigated and that critical evidence is preserved. We can also pursue financial compensation for associated damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and in the worst cases, wrongful death.

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A resident is suing Pinellas Park nursing home operators, alleging breach of duty and negligence.

The woman filed a complaint Feb. 1 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against Pinellas Park Facility Inc., doing business as The Care Center at Pinellas Park, alleging they failed to exercise reasonable care in operating a nursing home in according with the state statutes.

According to the complaint, between July 29-Aug. 20, 2018, the woman was a resident at The Care Center of Pinellas Park. As a result of the facility’s negligent acts and omissions, the woman suffered a fall and injury Aug. 14, 2018.

The woman says this resulted in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, medical and hospitalization expenses and aggravation of a pre-existing condition. She alleges the facility failed to chart changes in her medical condition, failed to consult with her power of attorney, family and/or legal representatives and failed to monitor and provide a safe environment.

Many nursing home residents are injured in falls every day across the country. They may suffer hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries. In a majority of these cases, these injuries could have been prevented if staff and management had been supervising residents properly and administering appropriate care.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a nursing home fall, you may have the legal right to seek financial compensation from the person or company responsible. Our Tampa Bay Nursing Home Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide you with an immediate, free consultation about your case so that you know what steps to take next.

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Seven former employees, including a nurse practitioner, have been indicted after prosecutors say conditions at an Ohio nursing home got so bad that one patient “rotted to death.”

The contracted nurse practitioner and two workers are being charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly neglecting two patients, according to reports, which says the four other employees are accused of neglect or falsifying patient care records.

The group worked at a care center in Columbus.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, nurses failed to properly care for a male patient who died of septic shock after his wounds led to gangrenous and necrotic tissue in 2017.

According to reports, an attorney for the nursing facility said all the employees involved were fired two years ago.

Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one. Selecting the right home can be a stressful and emotional process. Regardless of how much research and thought is put in to choosing the right facility, you may end up with a facility that fails to provide quality care and treatment.

Too many Florida nursing home residents are victims of neglect and/or abuse. The result of this abusive treatment can be devastating to family members. That is why our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help loved ones of nursing home abuse and neglect discover what they can do to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

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A caregiver at a Florida facility for people with disabilities has been accused of impregnating a resident who gave birth in 2015.

Authorities say the 58-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a disabled person.

An arrest affidavit says the man helped care for adult clients at a facility in Rockledge.

Staff members in 2015 discovered the female client was pregnant. The baby was born a few months later and adopted by the woman’s family.

Police say the woman has the mental capacity of a small child.

Authorities say the man had previously denied having sexual contact with the woman and voluntarily submitted a DNA sample last year. Investigators say the man’s sample came back a match with the child, resulting in his arrest.

According to the Disability and Abuse Project, which focuses on physical, sexual and emotional abuse of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, 7 out of 10 Americans with developmental disabilities report they were sexually and/or physically assaulted, or neglected, or abused in some manner. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice reported 1.3 million crimes against persons with disabilities. Disabled women and men are three times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than the general population, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s data.

If you have a loved one who is or was being abused by a caregiver, our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Your consultatio is completely free of charge and you are under no obligation to us. We want to make sure that you are armed with the knowledge that you need to hold the responsible party accountable for their despicable actions.

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A patient’s representative is suing an assisted living facility operator for alleged negligence and reckless conduct.

The woman, who holds power of attorney for the resident, filed a complaint in Cabell Circuit Court against The Village of Riverview alleging that it violated the residents’ rights to be free from abuse, neglect and mistreatment.

According to the complaint, the resident was admitted to the facility on May 12, 2017 for rehabilitation and assistance. As a result of the facility’s negligence, the resident suffered a displaced femoral neck fracture, a periprosthetic right femur fracture and facial/scalp laceration, and a scalp hematoma.

The patient’s representative holds The Village of Riverview responsible because it allegedly failed to provide an environment free of accident hazards and failed to provide adequate supervision and assistance to prevent accidents.

Assisted living facilities provide care to hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and elderly individuals throughout the nation. Sadly, the level of care these individuals receive does not always live up to the standard of care that the assisted living facilities are required to provide. As a result, those left in the facility’s care are often abused or neglected.

If your loved one suffered serious injuries or died in an assisted living facility as a result of negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility. However, there are time constraints for taking legal action in the state of Florida against assisted living facilities, so it is important to take action early to protect your rights.

When a loved one is injured or killed as a result of negligence in an assisted living facility, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Our Florida Assisted Living Facility Abuse & Neglect Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help guide you through the legal process.

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Florida has revoked the license of a nursing home where 12 elderly patients died in the heat after it lost power during a 2017 hurricane.

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued its order Friday, saying an administrative law judge correctly concluded the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills “created an unsafe environment” in September 2017 after Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning.

Patients began dying three days after the storm passed. Investigators believe the center did not evacuate patients as temperatures inside rose, even though a fully functional hospital was across the street. The home’s license was suspended days after the storm and it closed.

Police have been investigating the deaths, but no charges have been filed.

Nursing homes have a legal obligation to make sure their patients are properly cared for, even in the midst of a hurricane. When the facility and staff are not prepared, residents can suffer serious personal injuries and even wrongful death. For those who suffer injuries in a nursing home, or families who have lost loved ones in a nursing home, our Florida Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can investigate if the nursing home is liable for any wrongful actions.

We proudly help injured nursing home residents, and surviving family members, recover financial compensation to cover medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitative care, as well as wrongful death expenses. We start with looking into nursing home policies and practices to determine if negligence caused a resident to suffer harm. From there, we can help your pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

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On Nov. 30, 2016, an elderly woman in her 80s was brought to Mariners Hospital after she had a seizure and her heart stopped.

Her physical condition was appalling as she was bleeding, covered in urine and feces, and had severe bed sores indicating abject neglect, according to court documents.

Doctors and nurses transported her to Homestead Hospital where she died the next day of septic pneumonia.

The woman’s death led investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Children and Families to discover two unlicensed elderly care facilities: one in Plantation Key and the other, a trailer in Key Largo. Six patients, all over 80, lived at the two homes.

All the patients were in wheelchairs, had mental disorders and were prescribed either antipsychotic or anti-anxiety medications. They were all incontinent and required extra skin care and to be frequently turned over so their skin would not blister from exposure to their own waste.

None of the patients received anywhere near the proper care they needed for their conditions, which require 24-hour attention. Some were not being treated at all, according to court documents.

The facilities were operated by a 67-year-old doctor who was arrested at his Miami Beach home last June on two counts of aggravated neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult.

A 49-year-old woman, who was running the facilities on site despite having no medical training, was charged with the same crimes.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are out of jail awaiting trial. Their next court appearance, a status update, is scheduled for Oct. 30 at the Plantation Key courthouse.

Investigators also said the doctor was billing Medicare and being paid for services he was not providing.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities occur every day across the country. Nursing home and assisted living facility negligence includes failing to protect residents from health and safety hazards. Negligence can result in injuries such as broken bones, bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, and other medical conditions which cause harm and even wrongful death.

Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you and your loved ones fight to recover everything you deserve. We are experienced in nursing home negligence matters, and will thoroughly and carefully assess each individual case. We prepare each case for trial in order to obtain maximum compensation for injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. We want to help victims and their families hold these facilities accountable.

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A Delray Beach man filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the Whitehall Boca where his 72-year-old mother was recuperating from pneumonia.

The man said his mother was suffering from a condition making it difficult for her to swallow or eat or drink solid foods.

In April, the man claims he was on the phone with his mother when she told him she felt like she was choking. He said he called the nursing home to alert them his mother needed help, but no one answered his calls.

According to reports, call records show a woman called 911 from the choking woman’s room and then hung up.

When dispatchers called back, the receptionist had no idea there was any trouble, and the nursing station did not answer.

Fire Rescue did respond, and documents Fischer show that the staff was not performing CPR, rather they were standing around the woman’s bed.

Reports indicate that the woman had not been breathing or responding for at least five minutes. The records also shows that the staff had not cleared the woman’s airway, which was clogged with vomit, which made her condition worse.

Wrongful death is a type of civil case, that is usually brought against a negligent party that has wrongfully caused the death of another party. In nursing home wrongful death cases, the victim’s loved ones are usually the one’s filing a lawsuit against the facility for negligence and/or abuse.

When considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • If the death was caused somehow by the nursing home
  • If the conduct of the staff members, healthcare professionals, or caregivers at the nursing home contributed to the death
  • If there are surviving family members of the victim, such as a spouse, children, or other dependents and/or beneficiaries
  • If the victim’s death resulted in damages or pain and suffering

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