nursing home elder abuse

Wrongfully Discharged from a Nursing Home? Read This

By JW Law

Moving a loved one or even broaching the conversation about moving to a nursing home or assisted living is an emotionally challenging process. But when nursing homes abuse or improperly evict residents, it is devastating both for residents and their families.

A recent story from National Public Radio (NPR) sheds light on the growing practice of involuntary discharge of Medicaid residents to accommodate Medicare and private pay patients to maximize reimbursements.

“This story offers an exquisite example of how the nursing home industry puts profits over people while committing fraud along the way,” said Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Francisco Rodriguez.

According to the available figures, in 2014 about 1.4 million people occupied 15,600 nursing homes across the country, of which 45,185 were in New Jersey and a staggering 105,390 in New York State.

While both federal Medicare and Medicaid programs pay for most of the nation’s nursing home care, roughly $75 billion in 2014, Medicare reimburses at a much higher rate for rehabilitation services than Medicaid for long-term care.

“Medicare pays for short-term rehabilitation after hospitalizations, whereas Medicaid pays for long-term care when a resident does not have assets to pay for a nursing home themselves,” explained Rodriguez.

In the article, NPR reported how a particular nursing home chain in Maryland and Illinois discharged Medicaid residents without proper discharge planning and charged Medicaid for planning services that it never provided.

“Nursing homes are required to discuss plans of an eviction with a resident and/or their loved ones, as well as prepare detailed records for the resident to give to their next facility or care provider,” he added.

However in this case, Instead of discharging the resident into an appropriate facility they were sent to homeless shelters. Some were left unattended on the sidewalk in front of their family member’s homes, even though they had dementia.

Those residents, who did not “fit the mold” or complained about the services, were inappropriately transferred to hospitals or in psychiatric wards. “…and of course, the government ends up paying more taxpayer money to take care of that resident’s unnecessary hospitalization,” said Rodriguez about this disturbing trend. “More importantly, residents end up with their health and safety in jeopardy, and family members and hospitals, end up with having to clean up the mess.”

nursing home involuntary discharge
Sadly the issue of wrongful eviction goes far beyond Maryland and Illinois. In a race for Medicare dollars, most nursing homes across the country wrongfully evict their long-term care residents.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data from the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program finds complaints about discharges and evictions are up about 57 percent since 2000. It was the top-reported grievance in 2014, with 11,331 such issues logged by ombudsmen, who work to resolve problems faced by residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult care settings.

Know your rights:

The Federal Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Act protects occupants against unreasonable transfer or removal by specifying only six grounds for discharge:
-The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs
-The resident no longer needs nursing facility services
-The resident’s presence endangers the safety of others in the facility
-The resident’s presence endangers the health of others in the facility
-The resident has failed to pay
-The facility is closing

Even if one of the above conditions legitimizes the nursing home’s decision, there is a protocol that they must follow to ensure the patient’s safety. According to the federal law, the nursing home must fulfill proper discharge planning requirements. These include: providing a written notice 30 days before the removal/transfer unless there is emergency justification for removal on short notice. In addition to the notice, the discharge planning procedure requires the facility to prepare a report of the resident’s mental and physical health status and a post-discharge plan of care for the resident.

Sometimes these facilities toss out residents who are “undesirable” or complaint a lot. They often use the threat of discharge as a method of retaliation or obtain compliance from family and residents who may be complaining about dangerous conditions, inadequate care, or violations of state and federal regulations.

“Residents and their families need to understand that these threats of discharge and other forms of retaliation by facilities are just that, threats,” said Rodriguez. “In reality, it is the residents and family members who do not complain on behalf of their loved one to the authorities, like the state Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, who end up putting residents at risk. If they do not complain to the state when the illegal and dangerous conduct occurs, those residents are at the greatest risk. They will be run over by the thirst for profits of the owners of these nursing homes.”

If you or your loved one resides in a nursing home, rest assured that you have protection under the law. If you know of anyone who is unfairly discharged or threatened with eviction, contact Javerbaum Wurgaft’s nursing home Lawyers. Our highly experienced lawyers will intercede to enforce the law and fight for their rights.

Read Related:

A MUST READ FOR ANYONE SELECTING A NURSING HOME

The Report Cards are in on New Jersey Hospitals: Where to Go and Where to Avoid

By JW Law

Although you may always be able to choose a specific doctor for treatment, in many situations you are not able to select the hospital. Emergencies causes us to go to the closest hospital or where the ambulance chooses to take you. It is very important to learn which hospital is the safest.

The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit healthcare watchdog organization, recently released a report, ranking every hospital in New Jersey as to where you are likely to develop an infection or get the wrong medication or have an avoidable fall. In New Jersey of the 68 hospitals evaluated, 27 earned an A and 20 earned a B which is an improvement over the last year’s evaluation. Although there were seven fewer Cs there were three D’s which is something that everyone needs to know.
hospital safety report
Just as important as the hospitals that received an A, the hospitals that received a D were:

Memorial Hospital of Salem County
St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark
University Hospital in Newark.

“This information is essential to all residents in choosing where they and their loved ones go to the hospital” said Eric Kahn managing partner of Javerbaum Wurgaft. This was confirmed by Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the Health Care Quality Institute of New Jersey who indicated “we see again and again that hospitals that adopt the leapfrog survey as a quality improvement tool truly make safety a priority” and certainly that is what all consumers are concerned with when going to a hospital safety.

If you or a loved one believes that you have been injured at a hospital, call Javerbaum Wurgaft’s experienced medical malpractice lawyers, we are here to help.

Verdicts and Settlements - Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C. | New Jersey Certified Trial Attorneys

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GOVERNMENT BAN ON LAWSUITS AND DAMAGES

Responsibility and accountability – even for the powerful – are rooted into the core of our legal system. This country’s founders knew that a democracy needs a court system that empowers people to protect themselves by holding the powerful to account. That’s why the Constitution guarantees each person the right to a trial by jury. The founders feared unaccountable power in the form of the King of England against his “subjects.” 21st Century America may not have a king, but it does have billion dollar corporations touching every part of every person’s life. These corporations now seek the kind of unaccountable power our founders sought to protect against, and they’re seeking that power by destroying your constitutional right to a trial by jury.

Politicians who are in the pockets of large corporations and insurance companies have devised a plan specifically aimed at destroying our right to hold those in power accountable for their misdeeds. Their plain is to enact laws that will all but destroy your right to use the judicial system to protect yourself. They have introduced bills which, if passed, will enact arbitrary changes to courts all across the country, including:

  • Limiting compensation for injuries caused by medical professionals, including doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and medical device manufacturers,

to $250,000.00, regardless of how much that injury devastated your life

or the extent of malfeasance by the medical professional or company.

  • Eliminating class-action law suits, which would essentially destroy the ability to bring the kinds of cases that keep us safe
  • Eliminate Individual States Law regarding lawsuits and forcing all cases to Federal Court
  • Allowing insurance companies to make “payments” rather than paying full compensation.

 

We must tell our government to put people first and stop trampling on our rights. Javerbaum Wurgaft has been protecting citizens of New Jersey and New York by demanding that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of gender, race, or economic status. Please join us in demanding that Congress do the same. We must ban together and contact our representatives to demand they say NO to these outrageous attacks on our rights. Go to each link below and tell them NO!