WSOCTV reported that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigators visited Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center three days after Channel 9 exposed allegations of patient abuse.  Investigators spent four days at Lake Park nursing home and found repeat problems.

State officials said that their visit was in response to a new complaint in March.  The investigation stated that a patient had not received a shower in two weeks and staff provided him with a washcloth to wash his face, “but that’s it.” The facility was also cited for “neglecting to feed and provide incontinence care for dependent residents.”

Channel 9 uncovered two lawsuits against the facility that are alleging sexual assault and abuse.

The continued failure of the facility during three federal surveys of record show a pattern of the facility’s inability to sustain an effective Quality Assurance Program.

Lake Park nursing is a special focus facility, one of only about 80 in the country, which means it has a history of persistent poor quality, according to Medicare.  Medicare said the facility has shown ‘no improvement for 12 months.

In the report, the facility’s administrator blames family members. “One of the biggest barriers to achieving substantial compliance is difficult families,” it read.

 

People like employer-based health insurance coverage because it’s the exact opposite of the kind of market Trumpcare creates. There’s no medical underwriting. Healthy people and sick people pay the same amount for their coverage. Paul Ryan is promising that they won’t be exposed to the every-man-for-himself principles that guide Republican policy on the individual market.  Ryan is lying.

As Stephanie Armour and Michelle Hackman reported in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, the GOP health-care plan would actually jeopardize existing coverage for people who get insurance through their employer, not just the ones who get it from Medicaid and the individual market. The Republican plan would give states a waiver from Obamacare’s insurance regulations, which require that plans cover essential benefits and prevent them from putting lifetime caps on a person’s costs. And employers who shop for insurance can select a plan from any state.

That means every employer buying insurance could purchase plans that subject their employees to the kinds of price discrimination that Republicans want to impose on the individual market. People with preexisting conditions, or family members who have one, could suddenly find the workplace insurance they thought was totally safe now exposed them to massive new costs and the risk of medical bankruptcy.

According to Politico, Trump decided to abruptly terminate Obamacare Cost-Sharing Reduction subsidies to insurers, plunging markets into turmoil at the worst possible time.

Trump told aides in a Tuesday Oval Office meeting that he wants to end the payments to insurers, according to people familiar with his comments. Trump has previously expressed conflicting opinions on the issue. Insurers have been pressing for certainty as they plan for next year.

Estimated at $7 billion for this year, the payments go to insurance companies to reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers — an estimated 7 million people in 2017. Insurers are on the hook under the health law to keep paying even if the federal money stops.

Trump took CSR payments hostage in April, threatening to kill them if Democrats didn’t cooperate with his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Republican lawmakers should have the integrity to avoid sabotaging the current system until their own is in place (if that ever happens).  Intentionally destabilizing the insurance markets for millions would be an underhanded blow that should shame its perpetrators.

The Times-Standard reported that a lawsuit was filed against Brius Healthcare Services for purposeful understaffing and underfunding that caused the neglect and injury to Marie White while she resided at Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

The complaint filed May 4 claims Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center failed to prevent several falls by Marie White, which it alleges has resulted in White no longer being able to walk or use one of her arms. The lawsuit accuses Brius of fraud, abuse, negligent hiring and supervision, and violation of state laws. The complaint names Brius, Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz, the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Services, the nursing home’s administrative company Rockport Administrative Services and Boardwalk Financial Services as defendants.

“Marie White suffered multiple preventable falls including one which caused a fracture of her left arm, malnourishment leading to a weight loss of twenty-four pounds in under four months, all of which was fraudulently concealed by the defendants from Marie White’s family and legal representative which directly contributed to the occurrence and worsening of Marie White’s injuries,” the 45-page complaint states.

“… At all relevant times, the facility and the management defendants and each of their tortious acts and omissions, as alleged herein, were done in concert with one another in furtherance of their common design and agreement to accomplish a particular result, namely maximizing profits from the operation of the facility by underfunding and understaffing the facility,” the complaint continues.

The lawsuit comes after three separate wrongful death lawsuits were filed against Brius since November 2016. Those lawsuits also allege lack of staffing and neglect led to the deaths of three patients in 2016 at two of the five Brius nursing homes in Humboldt County: Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

 

 

New York Magazine published an article by Jonathan Chait about Trump’s threats to the insurance industry.

One of the most plausible predictions of the kinds of long-term damage Donald Trump might do to the United States was written by Matthew Yglesias a week after the election. He described a scenario in which Trump used government power to coerce business to support him and his agenda. “Those who support the regime will receive favorable treatment from regulators, and those who oppose it will not,” in this haunting scenario, which resembles the nexus between business and government that prevails in Russia and other authoritarian capitalist states.

Noam Levey reports an example of this already happening. The thrust of Levey’s story is focused on the belief by insurers that uncertainty fostered by the Trump administration is killing health-care exchanges. Deep in the piece, Levey describes a Trump staffer threatening to withhold cost-sharing-reduction payments, called CSR, which are a vital part of making individual insurance profitable. “At one recent meeting, Seema Verma, whom Trump picked to oversee the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, stunned insurance industry officials by suggesting a bargain: The administration would fund the CSRs if insurers supported the House Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” reports Levey.

The Trump administration has pursued policies that are extremely friendly to incumbent businesses. But there is a discretionary quality to Trump’s governance that is ripe for abuse. Which firms will he call out for eliminating jobs? Which ones will he praise? Trump’s ability to hand out discretionary favors to pliant firms is a power to coerce large segments of the business community to endorse, or at least not oppose, his agenda.

 for New York magazine had an interesting article about Trump’s comments to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump blurted out, “I shouldn’t say this to a great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do.”  This provoked a great deal of mockery, given that the country has a single-payer system.

The United States is the only industrialized democracy in the world that does not guarantee all its citizens access to medical care, while also spending a higher percentage of its economy on health care than any country in the world.

Trump took to Twitter to offer his own explanation. Yes, he really does think Australia has a better system than the United States. Indeed, he thinks everybody does:

“So, the only industrialized democracy in the world that does not have government-run health care also has the worst health care in the world, according to the Republican president of the United States. And that president is trying to strip back government involvement in health care while massively increasing the number of his citizens who will lack access to medical care. One might begin to suspect a minimal government role in health-care finance is a strategy that leads to bad health-care outcomes.”

New Jerseyans can now monitor how their loved ones are treated in nursing homes and other institutional care facilities with hidden cameras provided for free by the state.

Want to get a Safe Care Cam? Call (973) 504-6375 and leave a message in a voice mailbox that will be regularly monitored by Division staff responsible for the program’s day-to-day operation. Or call the Division on its toll-free line and follow the voice prompts to leave a message: 1-800-242-5846 .

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced that they’d opened the program to residents who want to use micro-surveillance cameras in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, residences for the developmentally disabled and other care facilities.

“Extending Safe Care Cam’s reach into residential facilities permits more people to monitor how caregivers are treating their loved ones when they think no one is looking,” Porrino said.

The Safe Care Cam program was launched last December to address New Jersey’s growing concerns about patient abuse. Those fears, being played out across the nation, have been fueled by increased media accounts of caregivers caught on hidden cameras physically or verbally assaulting innocent patients and residents.

The Safe Care Cam provided “insight to what really goes on when nobody is supposedly watching” and gave her family reassurance that their mother was receiving the care they had hoped and expected she would, the woman said.

Regency IHS of Windsor Duval, LLC and Regency Integrated Health Services, LLC has been sued because an employee at the facility posted videos on the internet that show someone smearing feces on her body and face allegedly taunting the woman with a feather as she smeared her own feces on her face.

83-year-old Mary McCaughan filed the lawsuit alleging negligence. Chandler McCaughan — the son of Mary — cites Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Services of Duval for allegedly failing to report the incident to law enforcement and their family.

The lawsuit says Carlos Alberto Santa Cruz, a certified nurse aide at Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Services of Duval, is “a despicable human being who proved himself to be someone who has no business caring for another helpless and defenseless human being.” He allegedly photographed the woman’s naked body and posted video on Snapchat showing someone smearing feces on her. A Snapchat photo shows someone tickling the woman’s nose to make her touch her face with her hand, KVUE-TV reported in March.

The lawsuit also accuses the nursing home of negligently hiring Carlos Santacruz. The lawsuit claims Santacruz should not have been hired to work at the nursing home because he has a lengthy arrest record which includes drug charges, criminal mischief and fraud.  As a result, the lawsuit alleges more people at the nursing home were at risk of being “abused.”

Chandler McCaughan removed his mother from the nursing home after the incident. In a previous interview with KVUE, he said he hoped the District’s Attorney’s Office would step in to hold the nursing assistant accountable.

Rather than notify authorities, the nursing home “lied, denied and covered up the abuse.”

See articles at KHOU and American-Statesman.

The Albuquerque Journal reported the nursing home verdict against Village of Northrise nursing home.  Inez Martinez was a resident for 20 days recovering from pacemaker surgery. The surgical incision from the implant was neglected and oozing, red.  The 82-year-old matriarch told her kids – and nurses at the nursing home – that pain was radiating down her arm from the wound. Her throat and blistered lips hurt. The family knew something was wrong, but no one would listen to them

Yet Dr. Guadencio Pavia, one of the Village of Northrise nursing home’s contract doctors, never visited Martinez in the nursing home, court records show. And even when she visited his office two days before her discharge, he never looked at her incision.

One day after the visit with Pavia, Martinez told Northrise nurses that her incision was sending pain down her arm and chest. So they faxed that information to Pavia. He signed the fax but never followed up.

She died 11 days later of a blood infection, kidney failure, a heart attack and more triggered by MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection she acquired during her stay at Northrise.

Dr. Pavia never examined Martinez’s incision during her stay at (Northrise), and it was later revealed at trial that attending physicians were not required to come to the facility to see their patients,” the state’s Court of Appeals judges wrote in a September 2016 opinion upholding the daughter’s multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit verdict against the nursing home.

“Experts for both sides agreed that this conduct fell below the standard of care,” Judge Linda Vanzi wrote in the opinion with Judges M. Monica Zamora an J. Miles Hanisee.

A jury awarded the family $2.5 million, plus interest, from the for-profit nursing home company.

That award was in addition to settlements the family received from the urgent care company and its doctor and a physician assistant, and from Pavia, the contract doctor with Northrise who was responsible for Martinez’s care while in the nursing home.

But the nursing home company and its parent companies fought that judgment – and partly won.

Peak Medical Assisted Living was the primary parent company to the Northrise nursing home. But that parent company had several of its own parents, including Sun HealthCare Group, which has since been purchased by Genesis HealthCare. The company owns several facilities across the state, including in Albuquerque.

 

 

U.S. News reported that the Arkansas Supreme Court has allowed a class action on understaffing in nursing homes to proceed.  The state Supreme Court upheld a Pulaski County judge’s decision granting class-action status in all aspects of the case except negligence.

Andrew Phillips sued Michael Morton and Robinson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in 2015, following the death of his mother, Dorothy Phillips, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The lawsuit alleges understaffing at Defendants’ nursing home caused her decline and wrongful death.  Phillips filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Robinson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC, Central Arkansas Nursing Centers Inc., Nursing Consultants Inc. and Morton in 2015 over the death of Dorothy Phillips, who lived in the nursing home from Aug. 19, 2013, until her death Feb. 22, 2014.

The Supreme Court rejected the nursing home’s arguments that Phillips failed to prove some essential elements behind the class-action status on other points. The high court ordered the case back to Pulaski County with instructions to decertify the class solely on the negligence claim.

“Negligence requires an individual analysis of each plaintiff’s specific allegations,” Justice Karen Baker wrote. “The commonality requirement is clearly satisfied because Robinson’s act of understaffing, independent of any action by Phillips, establishes a common question relating to the entire class.”

After citing case law, Baker wrote, “Accordingly … as to the breach of contract, [the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act], and unjust-enrichment claims, we hold that the circuit court correctly found that the commonality and predominance requirements of Rule 23 had been met.”

Phillips’ attorneys had asked Justice Rhonda Wood to recuse from the case, but she declined. She ended up siding with Phillips’ attorneys on all class-action issues except for the negligence one.

The attorneys had cited campaign contributions Wood received from Morton and his businesses and noted that her name had come up in connection with an investigation involving Morton, lobbyist Gilbert Baker and ousted Circuit Judge Michael Maggio.

Maggio has pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge but has appealed his conviction. Baker and Morton have not been charged with a crime. Maggio implicated them, though not by name, in his plea agreement. No one has accused Wood of criminal wrongdoing.