It is an unfortunate fact that nursing homes frequently use forced arbitration clauses that, once coerced to be signed by a resident, strips him of his legal rights and is rendered powerless in the event of a future dispute. Former US Representative Henry Waxman recently published an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee (CA), outlining the reprehensible attributes of forced arbitration clauses and how nursing homes pressure patients and their loved ones into signing them before being admitted. Unless the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services calls for an end to forced arbitration, they will continue to be abused. As an original author of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act that enabled the center to have regulatory authority over nursing homes, Waxman vehemently advocates for the ban of forced arbitration due to its primary use as a tool to avoid accountability.
Adverse events in hospitals remain highly prevalent to this day. From 2008 to 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a series of studies pertaining to hospital adverse events, which are injurious outcomes from medical care. A Congressionally mandated study was part of this work that sought to identify a national incidence rate for adverse events in hospitals. Researchers developed methods to determine adverse events, as well as the extent to which events are preventable, and measure the cost of events in accordance with the Medicare program. A recent study that is part of that work evaluated post-acute care provided in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). SNF post-acute care aims to help its patients enhance their health and functioning after a hospitalization and is second only to hospital care among inpatient expenses to Medicare. Not much is known about resident safety in SNFs.
This study approximates the national incidence rate, preventability, and expense of adverse events that occur in SNFs by using a two-stage medical record review to pinpoint events for a sample of 653 Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals to SNFs for post-acute care.
Too many of our nations extremely vulnerable and fragile older adults are being taken complete advantage of by nursing homes. Nursing homes are increasingly being operated by huge corporations (e.g., Wall Street) that aim for profit more than a genuine commitment to providing quality care for residents. Currently, 60% of nursing homes are controlled by for-profit entities, with a growing number run by private equity groups. According to one report, 60% of the homes that have been bought are run by managers who have curtailed nursing staff levels to the point where only one clinical registered nurse must oversee 20 residents. These corporations have pushed nursing home residents to sign forced arbitration clauses that prohibit them from suing, no matter what injustices they have experienced while under nursing home care. These clauses strip residents of their basic constitutional rights, making it extremely difficult for victims to hold a facility accountable for neglect and abuse, while allowing nursing homes to get away with providing minimal care.
According to a recent article from The New York Times, federal investigators have reported that Medicare payments received by nursing homes far exceed the amount it costs them to provide care, manipulating the billing system in some instances by providing patients more therapy services than is necessary.
Linda Boly, 59, a registered nurse who had been unjustly terminated by Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center for complaining to management that cost-cutting measures were putting patients at risk, was awarded $3 million last Friday by a Portland jury. Linda reported feeling vindicated by the verdict and hopied that this sends a “big message” to Legacy Health System that hastily pushing patients through process jeopardizes them.
There is something quite unique about Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle that sets it apart from other senior living communities. Not only is it home to approximately 400 older adult residents in need of various types of care, it is also home to the Intergenerational Learning Center—a preschool that provides children and seniors the opportunity to connect and learn from one another.
A recent congressional report stated that in “numerous” nursing homes across the nation, older adult residents experience serious physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. A study was performed by the minority (Democratic and Independent) staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee that found that 30% of nursing homes in America—a total of 5,283 facilities—were cited for an estimated 9,000 occurrences of abuse over a recent two-year period, from January 1999 to January 2001.
Urinary incontinence and behavioral problems that come with dementia are frequently cited among the most common markers necessitating nursing home placement for elderly patients. A study analyzed urinary incontinence prevalence in 321 older adult nursing home residents (average age 81.5 years) in a large city in Brazil. The overall urinary incontinence prevalence was 58.88%. A number of variables were associated with an increased rate of urinary incontinence, including white ethnicity, little to no physical activity, stroke, mobility impairment, and cognitive decline. Although urgency urinary incontinence is usually the most common form in community dwelling older adults, functional incontinence because of mobility or cognitive issues was most common in this group of people.
Fine print hidden in nursing home admissions contracts has stripped the constitutional rights of nursing home residents and their love ones for far too long. Amidst the extremely stressful process of being admitted into a nursing home, residents and their families are pushed into signing an agreement that waves their right to go to trial—regardless of if an event occurs that causes residents to suffer from severe neglect, serious injuries, death or sexual and physical abuse.
According to a recent report, the federal trial court has ruled that a nursing home operator in North Carolina is unable to claim privilege in protecting documents authored by its safety committee from being disclosed.