Recently, five former health care workers at a nursing home facility were convicted of several crimes in connection with the death of a 72 year old rehabilitation patient. A respiratory therapist and three nurses were sentenced to various jail terms and probation for the attempted cover–up of the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death. In addition, another respiratory therapist entrusted with the patient’s care was convicted of criminally negligent homicide.
Aurelia Rios had gone to the Medford Multicare Center for Living, Inc. for rehabilitation purposes. While there, she required the use of a ventilator to aid in respiration. However, the respiratory therapist had not read the doctor’s instructions and neglected to connect the ventilator when Rios had gone to sleep. Evidence shown at jury trial demonstrated that Rios’s respiratory and cardiac alarms had gone off when she stopped breathing, but that the therapist and the nurses ignored the activated alarms and the messages sent to their pagers. Staff waited two hours before responding to Rios who had been dead for a considerable amount of time. Additionally, surveillance footage showed two occasions when the respiratory therapist walked by Rios’s room, ignoring the alarms signifying respiratory distress.
The employees proceeded to both falsify nursing notes and conceal computer records in connection to the incident. Further, none of the staff reported to the New York State Department of Health as required by law.
Among the charges the nursing staff were found guilty of include:
- Falsifying Business Records
- Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person
- Willful Violation of Health Laws
Three former aides pled guilty to charges arising from the same occurrence. The Medford facility corporation’s owner will also be sentenced to seven days in jail on two counts of Falsifying Business Records and Willful Violation of Health Laws.
In addition to the criminal charges, the New York State Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit, charging the corporation with corporate looting and fraud related to a history of criminal activity conducted by the corporation’s employees.
If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home neglect or abuse, contact an attorney immediately who can protect and advise you of your legal rights. The Law Offices of Tanya Hobson-Williams is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the elderly and vulnerable and has successfully handled numerous cases concerning nursing home abuse and neglect. For more information, call the Law Offices of Tanya Hobson-Williams toll free at (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744.
The New York State Attorney General recently announced that a former employee of a nursing home has been arrested and indicted on 24 counts related to stealing over $6,000 from a nursing home trust fund. The indictment alleges Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree; two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree; and seven counts of Petit Larceny for incidents occurring between April 2013 and February 2014.
As the receptionist, the employee was entrusted with the responsibility of submitting requests for residents who wished to use funds from the trust account. Standard operating procedure at nursing homes is to comingle all resident funds into one account at a bank. A small amount of money is then kept at the nursing home for distribution to residents when requested. Instead of distributing the funds to the residents, the indictment alleges that the employee forged the checks, cashed them, and withheld the money for herself.
Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable members of society. Attorney General Schneidermann remarked, “Nursing home residents across New York State entrust financial control to those who are trained and paid to care for them, and those staff members must honor that trust.”
If your loved one is in a nursing home and has been abused financially or physically, contact an experienced Elder Law attorney who can advise you and your loved one regarding the best course of action to take. Call the Law Offices of Tanya Hobson-Williams toll free at (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744.
Choosing a nursing home for yourself or your loved one can be challenging and emotionally taxing. With so many stories about nursing home abuse and neglect, it can take a lot of research to find a location you feel comfortable with. However, even the pricey nursing homes may not have the nicest accommodations or provide the best health care. A few weeks ago, the federal government put a new nursing home rating system into effect. The goal is to provide a more accurate rating system for nursing homes that reflects the quality of accommodation and care the residents receive. Approximately 80% of the nursing homes originally received 4 or 5 star ratings based on the old criteria. However, the ratings were mostly inaccurate due to the lack of specificity and different criteria of the previous rating system.
On the new rating system, 1/3 of nursing homes received a lower score than they had received originally, due to the more stringent requirements implemented in determining quality of care. Now, only half of the nursing homes received a 4 or 5 star rating. Use of anti-psychotic drugs was a factor that was analyzed under the new system that caused many ratings to drop due to the risks to health they pose in residents who do not require them for specific conditions. This factor was analyzed more closely due to the growing concern of nursing homes overmedicating their patients. In addition, staffing levels were looked at more closely due to the correlation between quality care and adequate staffing.
Additional new measures are expected to be implemented in 2016.
Choosing a nursing home and planning for long term care are very difficult and important decisions you and your family will have to make. Contact an experienced New York elder law attorney who can help. For more information, contact Tanya Hobson-Williams P.C. at (718) 210-4744 for the quality representation that you deserve.
According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Dawn Weaver, a Licensed Practical Nurse, pleaded guilty to endangering a nursing home resident and falsifying business records.
These charges pertain to an incident on February 23, 2014, when a 93-year-old Wayne County Nursing Home resident fell while being transferred to the bathroom by a nurse aide. The supervising aide, Weaver, failed to follow nursing home protocol when she neglected to have the resident examined by a registered nurse before she was moved. Furthermore, Weaver failed to use a mechanical lift to remove the resident off of the ground, and subsequently failed to report the incident in the facility’s medical records.
Weaver then signed a facility report stating that the aforementioned event did not occur. More disturbingly, Weaver added that had the event occurred, she would have addressed it. However, when questioned by the Attorney General’s Office, Weaver admitted that the resident fell and that she and the aide manually picked up the resident without telling anyone about the fall. Continue reading “Attorney General’s Office Unveils Nursing Home Abuse Cover-Up”
A recent investigation into Medicare’s nursing home rating system by The New York Times revealed that the high rating of many top nursing homes, is based on incomplete information about the quality and conditions at the homes.
The report found that the 1-5 star medical rating system is largely based on self-reported data by the nursing homes that the government does not verify. The only data that is subject to review from outside agencies is the results from annual health inspections. As a result, other important measurements of nursing homes — such as staff levels and quality statistics, are mostly left to the nursing home to report to Medicare.
The investigation also revealed that the rating system fails to take into account other potentially negative information such as fines imposed by the state or enforcement sanctions from state agencies.
While federal officials maintain that the rating system can be improved, and that they are working to make it better, many individuals, including former nursing home employees, lawyers and patient advocacy groups, believe that these nursing homes have merely learned how to abuse the rating system. Continue reading “Medicare’s Nursing Home Ratings Fail to Give Complete Depiction”
The Office of the New York State Attorney General and the New York State Department of Health have recently commenced an investigation into the July 20th death of a 71-year-old female resident of a Medford nursing home.
According to sources, the deceased, who was housed in ventilator unit, suffered from acute and chronic respiratory failure and had lived on the unit for six years.
The deceased’s family alleges that the victim passed away because she was not attached to her ventilator. Specifically, they claim that the elderly victim died after her ventilator mechanically malfunctioned causing her to be unable to breath. The family further alleges that the nursing home’s employees disregarded alarms alerting them that victim was not receiving sufficient oxygen.
This is the second death at the nursing home’s 40-bed ventilator unit, which is under investigation. In June of 2014, several Medford employees were charged with various crimes ranging from patient abuse and neglect to falsifying business records in connection to the death of a different resident in 2012. Continue reading “Nursing Home Subject of State Investigation Amid Recent Death”
Deciding where and how to spend the latter days of your life can be a tough decision. Many wrongly assume that the lone alternative to their current living situation is a nursing home. This is simply not true. There are several residential alternatives for seniors considering a change of scenery.
Senior housing generally refers in to 3 categories of communities: Active-adult community, assisted-living communities, and continuing care retirement communities. So what’s the difference?
Continue reading “Senior Housing FAQS: Distinguishing the Types of Senior Housing Communities”
We all expect and hope to have long and healthy lives. However, the truth is, no one lives forever and all too often health issues and accidents occur, leaving many individuals unprepared and in trouble. But there is something you can do to ensure you are never put in this position: PLAN! By planning ahead, you are able to answer the tough questions and make arrangements while you are in good health and mind.
The harsh truth is that 7 out of 10 people over the age of 65 will require expensive long-term care at some point. Would you be able to foot the bill for an extended stay at a nursing home, assisted living facility or at-home care for you or your spouse? Even if you could, would you prefer to pass your savings and other assets to your loved ones rather than have those assets depleted by costly long term care expenses? To protect your lifestyle and assets, Medicaid Planning is necessary.
Continue reading “Medicaid Myths”