Nationwide, eviction is the leading complaint about nursing homes. In California last year, more than 1,500 nursing home residents complained that they were discharged involuntarily. That’s an increase of 73 percent since 2011.  NPR reports on AARP’s lawsuit against the illegal practice.  Nursing home residents have a lot of rights guaranteed in state and federal law. For example, they have to be given 30 days’ notice before they’re moved involuntarily. And the nursing home has to hold their bed for a week if they’re in the hospital.

The legal wing of the AARP Foundation asked the federal government to open a civil rights investigation into the way California deals with nursing home evictions. Now, they’re suing Pioneer House and its parent company. It’s the first time the AARP has taken a legal case dealing with nursing home eviction.

The California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff. The organization represents long-term-care ombudsmen. Those are the public officials who track complaints about nursing homes and advocate for residents. But Leza Coleman, the group’s executive director, says the spike in complaints about evictions is so overwhelming, that it’s “impacting our ability to handle other complaints.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the tragic and preventable death of Pittsburgh businessman Robert Frankel who died from asphyxiation from an incident in which his neck was trapped in bed rails.  Mr. Frankel died late Sept. 17 at the nursing home from what the medical examiner deemed at the time accidental asphyxiation, “due to compression of the neck.” The Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has discontinued using such railings in response, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Health report.

“Based on review of facility policy and documentation, clinical records and staff interview, it was determined that the facility failed to identify a hazard created by the use of side rails resulting in the death,” the report said.   The report said that at 11:30 pm. on Sept. 17, “a nurse aide was performing first rounds to check on the residents and found Resident R1 (Health Department inspection reports do not identify individuals by name) pulseless and without respirations, lying with his body on the floor and his neck between the air mattress and the side rail.” A nursing supervisor pronounced him dead at 11:40.

 

WHNT reported another nursing home employee accused of sexually assaulting a nursing home resident at Mitchell-Hollingsworth nursing home.  Zack Reeves, a nursing home aide has been arrested and charged with sodomizing a male nursing home resident.  The 21-year-old was arrested following a week-long investigation into possible abuse on November 2nd.

Police say a co-worker witnessed an incident and immediately notified authorities.  Florence police say Mitchell-Hollingsworth is playing a crucial role in the on-going investigation by speaking with other residents.  “We are kind of letting them lead that part of it since they know their patients. We don’t want to cause any undue stress or trauma to any of the patients,” said Sgt. Greg Cobb with Florence Police.

 

Republicans’ proposed tax reform bill would increase Obamacare prices by an average of almost $2,000 per family in 2019, according to an analysis released Thursday. The tax bill would lead to 13 million added to the list of the uninsured.  The federal Medicare program could be subject to annual funding cuts that would start with $25 billion next year if the Senate tax bill becomes law.

Republicans want to repeal the mandate as part of the bill because doing so would save almost $340 billion in federal spending over the next decade — savings which in turn would be used to increase tax cuts to corporations.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated would be 5 million fewer people enrolled in Obamacare individual health plans, and 5 million fewer enrolled in Medicaid. Another 3 million people who now get coverage through a job are expected to become uninsured as well.

 CBO also estimates that premium prices for Obamacare plans would be 10 percent higher nationally as a result of the repeal of the mandate because insurers would have fewer healthier customers in their risk pools.  The average premium increase for a middle-class family of four that earns above $98,400 in the lower 48 states would be $1,990 in 2019, according to CAP.

“The Senate bill is looking more and more like a vehicle for rolling back health programs,” said Emily Gee, a health economist at CAP.

WKYC reported the horrific death of James Dempsey, a decorated World War II veteran from Woodstock, Georgia.  An 11Alive investigation uncovered hidden camera video catching nursing home staff laughing while an elderly patient dies in front of them. The video was recently released as part of a lawsuit filed by the family.   Hidden cameras are an important way to prevent abuse and neglect and to prevent cover-ups like this one.

The incident happened at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation owned and operated by the national for-profit chain, SavaSeniorCare.  Attorneys representing SavaSeniorCare tried to prevent 11Alive from obtaining the video. They asked a DeKalb County judge to keep the video sealed and then attempted to appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court. The judge ruled in favor of 11Alive and the nursing home eventually dropped its appeal to the state’s highest court.

Watch the extended deposition here where her story changes after watching the hidden video.

The video includes almost six hours of video court deposition from a nursing supervisor explaining how she responded to the patient before she knew the hidden camera video existed. The video shows a completely different response. SavaSeniorCare was made aware of the video in November 2015, but the nursing home did not fire the nurses until 10 months later.

In the video deposition, former nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles tells the family’s attorney, Mike Prieto, how she rushed to Dempsey’s room when a nurse alerted her he had stopped breathing.

Prieto: “From the time you came in, you took over doing chest compressions…correct?”
Nuckles : “Yes.” 

Prieto: “Until the time paramedics arrive, you were giving CPR continuously?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”

The video, however, shows no one doing CPR when Nuckles entered the room. She also did not immediately start doing CPR.  The video shows the veteran calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air. State records show nursing home staff found Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 am. It took almost an hour for the staff to call 911 at 6:25 a.m.

When a different nurse does respond, she fails to check any of his vital signs. Nuckles says she would have reprimanded the nurse for the way she responded to Dempsey. She called the video “sick.”  When nurses had difficulty getting Dempsey’s oxygen machine operational during, you can hear Nuckles and others laughing.

Prieto: “Ma’am, was there something funny that was happening?”
Nuckles : “I can’t even remember all that as you can see.”

11Alive showed the video to Elaine Harris, a retired nursing professor and expert in adult critical care. “In 43 years in nursing, I have never seen such disregard for human life in a healthcare setting, is what I witnessed,” said Harris.

In the video, nursing staff repeatedly start and stop doing CPR on Dempsey. Harris says once you start doing CPR, it should not be stopped until a doctor makes the decision not to resuscitate.  “That is absolutely inappropriate. You never stop compressions,” said Harris.

The nursing home operators, owned by Sava Senior Care, declined interview requests.

State health inspection records show Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation continued to have a history of  problems after Dempsey’s death. Medicare records show the nursing home facility was cited at least two dozen times for serious health and safety violations, including “immediate jeopardy” levels, the worst violation. Medicare withdrew one payment and the facility has been fined $813,113 since 2015.  The facility has a one-star rating from Medicare, the lowest score the agency can give. The nursing facility remains open today.

 

Forbes had an interesting article about nursing homes “dumping” residents.  This problem is only getting worse because it is becoming common corporate policy to evict low-income residents to make room for more lucrative Medicare or private pay residents. In other words, they dump Medicaid people so they can make more money on other residents who are paid by better sources than Medicaid.  Some elders are low income and receive Medicaid. Some live in nursing homes, as they need full time care. Medicaid recipients are vulnerable and can be subject to terrible treatment, including being kicked out of a home just because they have to get temporary treatment at a hospital.

“It is disgusting to think that a nursing home will not only violate the law in refusing to allow its own resident back into the home after going to a hospital, but it will callously separate spouses by doing so. Neither has the luxury of choice. One spouse can stay while the other gets the boot?”

The AARP Foundation, the affiliated charity of AARP, is fighting for the residents to stop this despicable practice.  According to Foundation attorney Kelly Bagby, a clear legal right to return to the place where she lived exists, and should be enforced by the state health agencies. The law prohibits it and the law is ignored.

If your own aging loved one is ever mistreated, threatened with being evicted or dumped from a nursing home, know that he or she has rights that can be enforced. The place to start is with the Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman. The ombudsman is assigned the task of being the liaison between the facility and the resident or resident’s family.

The Growing Season is a new documentary directed by Evan Briggs. The movie takes a look at Seattle’s Providence Mount St. Vincent, a nursing home that also houses the Intergenerational Learning Center, a preschool program.  The world premiere was at the Doc NYC festival on Nov. 16 after raising more than $100,000 on Kickstarter

The film focuses on a nursing home that also houses a preschool program.  Over the course of a school year, the Mount St. Vincent residents interact with the preschool kids, enriching the lives of both groups.  Preschool kids and nursing home residents share smiles and laughs as they work on jigsaw puzzles and spend quality time together in the documentary The Growing Season.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit concluded that a confidentiality provision in an arbitration clause in a bank account holder agreement was substantively unconscionable. Larsen v. Citibank FSB, 871 F.3d 1295 (11th Cir. Sep. 26, 2017). The case concerned a putative class of account holders who challenged the bank’s overdraft policy. The arbitration clause in the account holder agreement required both parties to keep confidential any decision of an arbitrator. The account holder argued that this provision disproportionately favored the bank as a repeat participant in the arbitration process. The court agreed, concluding that where the outcomes of prior arbitration proceedings remain concealed, as the arbitration clause purported to require, prospective claimants have little context in which to assess the value of their cases, to avoid repeating past claimants’ mistakes, or to leverage prior successes. The court further reasoned that the information disadvantage that the bank holds at the outset of a dispute may have the effect of discouraging consumers from pursuing valid claims. The court concluded that severing the confidentiality clause would not significantly alter the tone or nature of arbitration between the account holders and the bank. Accordingly, the court severed the confidentiality clause and enforced the remainder of the clause.

Virginia Santillan is suing Manning Gardens Care Center for elder abuse, neglect and violation of patient rights after the nursing home  dumped her outside her home where she had been found soiled with vomit and feces, with cockroaches crawling on her and maggots in a wound on her right foot.

According to Santillan’s lawsuit, Manning Gardens made no arrangements to make sure she would have appropriate care before calling a transport company to take her home last Nov. 7.   Under state law, nursing home residents have the right to a 30-day notice of a discharge, the date of the discharge, the location of where they are being sent, sufficient preparation and orientation at the discharge location to ensure a safe and orderly transfer and to be given information of their right to appeal the discharge and help in submitting an appeal. The lawsuit says the home failed to prepare a safe and orderly discharge plan.

In addition to the alleged illegal eviction, Santillan says the nursing home failed to provide adequate care and did not protect her from a male resident of the nursing home who she says preyed upon and stalked her, violating her privacy and dignity.

The home was cited three times this year for improper patient transfers by the California Department of Public Health, which investigates nursing home complaints.

In Santillan’s case, the state fined Manning Gardens $20,000. State records show Manning Gardens also was cited for the improper transfer of an 82-year-old man who fell and broke a hip after being sent to a facility that was not equipped to take care of his needs. And in a similar case, the state said a man was sent to a facility that could not provide the 24-hour care he required to remain safe. In each case of the two cases involving men, the state fined the nursing home $2,000.

Senate Republicans are trying to remove personal responsibility for getting health care by getting rid of the mandate to get insurance coverage to help finance deep tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.  The move by Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee does not increase coverage or pay for the tax cuts.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated repealing the requirement that people buy health coverage would mean 4 million additional uninsured people by 2019 and 13 million more by 2027.

The “Obamacare” mandate requires most people to buy health insurance coverage or face a fine. Without being forced to get coverage, fewer people would sign up for Medicaid or buy federally subsidized private insurance. Targeting the mandate in the tax legislation would save an estimated $338 billion over a decade, which could be used to help pay for the deep cuts.

It “will cause millions to lose their health care and millions more to lose their premiums,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, angrily insisted when the panel reconvened to work on the tax bill and word came of the Republicans’ move on the mandate.

Outside Congress, as word spread of the Senate Republicans’ intention, major organizations representing insurers, doctors and hospitals urged lawmakers to keep Obamacare’s effective requirement that most Americans have health insurance.  Ending the “individual mandate” would prompt healthy people to leave the insurance market in droves, driving up premiums, the groups argued in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders.

On Monday, a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate bill showed it would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households.