The Toronto Sun reported that the owner of a nursing home in Hamilton is accused of assaulting two elderly residents last fall. Danica "Donna" Kozar of Mount Hope, was arrested following an investigation by the Crimes Against Seniors Unit into complaints involving two residents of the seniors home.

The incidents allegedly occurred in Oct. 2009 within the residential care facility, which police have not yet named.   Kozar, the owner and operator of the nursing home, is charged with two counts of assault with a weapon.

 

The Daytona Beach News-Journal had a tragic story about a 76-year-old resident at a DeLand nursing home who went for 12 hours without treatment after she broke her shoulder and both her legs in a preventable fall.  The incident under investigation started when a patient fell out of bed at 5 a.m. Friday as her bedding was being changed.  The patient, whose identity was withheld by police, was put back into bed after the fall. But it wasn’t until after the next shift came on — at 4:42 p.m. — that emergency workers were summoned to attend to her injuries. She was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach where she was admitted.

The incident is under review by the Agency for Health Care Administration, which is charged with overseeing 31 nursing homes. Records with the state agency show that at its last inspection in October, nine deficiencies were cited at the facility that is owned by Graystone Healthcare Management, which operates 28 nursing homes in Florida, Indiana and Ohio. Among the citations: accident hazards and food storage.

 

Kentucky.com had an article about Lynwood C. Bauer, a nursing assistant charged with one count of reckless abuse of an adult in connection with the abuse of a patient at Britthaven Nursing Home in Pineville, according to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.

The criminal complaint alleges that Bauer recklessly inflicted physical pain and injury on a Britthaven resident while working as a certified nursing assistant at the facility.  The victim was a male resident paralyzed on the left side of his body from a stroke.  His treatment plan called for him to be moved with a mechanical lift by two staff people.

The nursing assistant, presumed to be Bauer, told investigators he moved the male resident from a chair to the bed without the lift or help from staff. The nursing assistant then left the resident sitting on the edge of the bed while he walked across the room. The assistant said he did not check the man’s treatment plan and did not know he was paralyzed.

When the resident fell from his bed, the nursing assistant told investigators, he put the man back to bed with no assistance from other staff. In addition to the man’s treatment plan, nursing home policy requires that after falls, residents be assessed by a RN for injuries before they are moved.

When other members of the nursing staff came into the room after the injury, they discovered that the resident had "raised" and "red painful areas" on the back of the head, and his left shoulder, rib cage, hip and knee, according to documents.

The resident was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a Tennessee hospital where he later died.

 

Bryan Dillman was accused of beating a woman at an Oakland City Nursing Home.  He has been sentenced to 18 months probation and only 60 days in jail after pleading guilty.  He also lost his nursing license.

Authorities say the attack happened back in September at the Good Samaritan Home and Rehab Center. Police say Dillman was asleep on a chair in the victim’s room, and attacked her when she woke him to help her with a shower.

 

The Clarion-Ledger had an article discussing how corporate lobbyists and campaign contributions prevent necessary reforms to nursing homes.  Because of the influence of insurance companies and greedy corporate owners of for profit nursing home chains, Mississippi nursing homes still have the right to operate with little or no liability insurance.

 

The House passed House Bill 536 with bipartisan Republican support in that chamber. But the bill was killed in the Senate Insurance Committee, dying in Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Buck Clarke’s pocket.

House Bill 536 would have required non-government nursing homes to carry the same $500,000 in liability coverage that government nursing homes carry.  Nursing homes owned by county hospitals or other entities covered by the State Tort Claims Board are covered for legal claims up to the statutory cap of $500,000 if a jury finds that a patient has been abused, neglected or otherwise sufficiently harmed in a covered facility. Yet a number of private nursing homes in Mississippi do not carry liability insurance sufficient to cover claims up to the statutory $500,000 cap.

Some carry so-called "eroding" policies that pay for the nursing home’s defense lawyers out of the available liability insurance before a victim is compensated.

Is that fair to vulnerable patients in those private facilities? Is it fair for them to have paid taxes or have families paying taxes that subsidize the public nursing homes’ tort claim coverage while the laws allow private nursing homes to be uninsured or under insured for the very same offenses against the elderly? No.

Campaign finance records show that in 2007 Gov. Haley Barbour got $50,000 from the Mississippi Health Care Association (MHCA), the association that represents many of the nursing homes, and $62,000 total from nursing home industry donors.

Campaign finance records show that in 2007, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant received $50,000 from nursing home operator Ted Cain of Health Services, Inc., in Wiggins, $11,000 from MHCA and $63,250 total from nursing home industry donors.

Campaign finance records show that in 2007, House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, got $5,000 from Cain, and $3,000 from MHCA for a total of $8,000 from the nursing home industry. Clarke, R-Hollandale, in whose committee the nursing home liability insurance bill died, got $1,500 in 2007 campaign contributions from the nursing home industry.

In total, 2007 campaign finance records show that the Mississippi Health Care Association gave a total of $132,000 in contributions to legislators and statewide elected officials.

Lobbying records show in 2009, MHCA paid lobbyist Beth Clay $80,000 to represent the organization’s interests.

In 2010, lobbying records shows that Vanessa Phipps Henderson, John Maxey, Josh Gregory and Quinton Dickerson are MHCA’s registered lobbyists. Gregory and Dickerson are former paid consultants on Bryant’s 2007 campaign.

Even after HB 536 died, Bryant still had another chance to accept Sen. Eric Powell’s amendment to the Vulnerable Adults Act bill to include a requirement for nursing home liability insurance. But Bryant ruled the Powell’s amendment was "not germane" to the Vulnerable Adults bill – a ruling that no doubt pleased the MHCA.

 

Fewer medical malpractice payments were made on behalf of doctors in 2009 than any year on record, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

This finding contradicts claims that medical malpractice litigation is to blame for rising healthcare costs and that changing the liability system to the detriment of patients will not curb costs.

The value of malpractice payments was also the lowest since 1999. Adjusted for inflation, payments were at their lowest since 1992, a Public Citizen analysis of the NPDB shows.

This, once again, proves that there is no reason for more "tort reform" to protect doctors or other healthcare practioners from neglect, abuse, and negligence that causes injury and death.

The St. Clair Record had a story about Jewel Lane.  Jewel Lane was living at Maryville Manor when they allowed him to fall and then later allowed him to leave the premises unattended.   Jewel Lane died on April 7 because of exposure to the elements, pulmonary arrest and hypothermia. 
His wife and daughter have filed suit against the nursing home which allowed the man to escape, leading to his death.

The surviving Lanes blame the nursing home for causing their father’s and husband’s death, saying employees there failed to properly supervise Jewel Lane to prevent him from leaving the nursing home, failed to provide adequate staff to prevent him from leaving the nursing home unattended, failed to protect him from neglect, failed to timely notify his physician of changes in his condition and failed to assure his environment was free of hazards.

In addition, staff at Maryville Manor negligently failed to provide adquate warnings to the proper personnel to quickly locate Jewel Lane; failed to properly secure exits, including windows, so that patients could not escape unnoticed; failed to provide Jewel Lane adequate care so he would not harm himself; and failed to house Jewel Lane in a room that would prevent him from exiting the premises, the complaint says.

KOAT.com, an ABC news website for Albuquerque, ran an article about Roland Werito who had been missing since he left the Paloma Blanca Nursing Home.  Police said the nursing home allowed Werito to leave the facility unattended towards the bike path in his wheelchair just blocks from the nursing home, but his wheel rolled off the path, down the hill and his chair got stuck. No one found him until it was too late.

When Werito didn’t show up by 9 p.m., staff members at Paloma Blanca got worried. They called police and Werito’s family. Police said someone saw Werito from a nearby Motel 6 and called 911.

Werito died of hypothermia.

DailyComet ran an article about another wandering incident. 

 

There were several articles about the lack of investigation by Texas regulators on nursing home complaints.  The Star-Telegram ran an article.  MySanAntonionews.com ran article.  Also American Statesman had one too.

Interviews with families and advocates and a review of thousands of pages of public records by the San Antonio Express-News show some of the city’s most frail and vulnerable residents are suffering at the hands of their caregivers. Yet state officials allow troubled nursing homes to continue operating with little or no penalty.

The lack of oversight comes at a human cost. Elderly residents were left for hours in their own urine and feces. Infestations of cockroaches and rats plagued some facilities. Employees yelled insults at residents and handled them roughly. Nursing home staff stole medication and administered the wrong drugs to residents. State inspectors found dirty feeding tubes and broken medical equipment.

The state received nearly 16,200 reports of poor treatment last year in Texas, but most — about four out of five — were unsubstantiated by investigators, who often arrive at the nursing home weeks after receiving the complaint.   When investigators do cite facilities for serious problems, nursing home operators rarely face sanctions. In some cases, the state repeatedly threatened to suspend or revoke the licenses of facilities with chronic problems, yet Texas rarely took action against those nursing homes. Often, a facility promises to do better, state regulators back off, and problems crop up again in a troubling cycle.

Meanwhile, serious complaints against nursing homes have increased in Texas . Complaints about problems that put residents in “immediate jeopardy,” the most serious type of complaint, rose 26 percent since 2006, to more than 950. Complaints of “actual harm,” the second most urgent type of complaint, rose by 10 percent since 2006, to nearly 6,300.

Faced with alarming delays in investigating nursing home complaints, the state is creating teams to speed up scrutiny. State nursing home investigators blew their deadlines to investigate complaints of "high potential of harm" against residents in 66 percent of investigations in fiscal 2009.   In such complaints, mental, physical or psychosocial harm is possible, though not imminent, and an investigation must be initiated within 14 days. 

In response, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services will put together teams to speed the state’s response. Next month, the department will begin to hire 35 new investigators.

Complaint investigation teams are being set up statewide. Made up of nurses, nutritionists, social workers and general investigators, the teams will be dedicated solely to conducting investigations of complaints and self-reported incidents.

This month, the department plans a two-week blitz to investigate 1,550 complaints at more than 300 facilities, a department spokeswoman said.

The department regulates 1,196 nursing homes statewide and investigated 16,200 complaints and incidents last year.

 

The L.A. Times had an interesting article about how the recession has changed the attitude of jurors.  The article was depressing.  Citizens of this great country were refusing to do their civic duty. Jury duty is one of our civic duties. 

Paying taxes, registration for the selective service, and jury duty are the only obligations that the government imposes on its citizens.  In return for these obligations, we have a country with a strong military, freedoms to practice religion and speech, and the right to participate in governance.  The first and most important concept is the role of the jury. The job of the jury is to answer questions of fact as presented by the evidence in the case.  The jury determines the validity of the evidence as it may apply to the law as explained by the judge.  The jury also must be able to judge the credibility of witnesses that testify before the court. While an attorney in a case may attempt to present evidence in a certain light, they are only presenting their view of that evidence. The opinion of the evidence that matters is the opinion of the jury. The concept of the fair and impartial jury of one’s peers is paramount to our legal system. To be fair and impartial, members of the jury need to be intellectually honest. That means they must be able to evaluate the facts presented in the trial without prejudice.

In this time of double-digit unemployment and shrinking benefits for those who do have jobs, courts are finding it more difficult to seat juries for trials running more than a day or two. Reluctance has escalated into rebellion, experts say.  Money woes inflicted by the recession have spurred hardship claims, especially by those called for long cases, say jury consultants and courtroom administrators.

More than a quarter of all qualified jurors were released on hardship grounds last year, according to court statistics. And judges say they have seen more people request such dismissals in the last year.  With shrinking budgets, courts are under pressure to do more with less. Los Angeles County courthouses were summoning 55,000 people a week, at $15 a day each, until the economic crisis imposed more belt-tightening. The county is now making do with 45,000 summonses a week — only about half are even answered — compelling stricter scrutiny of those claiming financial, medical and child-care problems, Gomez said. The county has also tightened sanctions for repeat no-shows, imposing fines of as much as $1,500.

 

 

 

 

Business Week had an article about National Healthcare Corp. (NHC).   Nursing home and assisted-living center operator National Healthcare Corp. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 80 percent on a boost in patient revenue.

The company earned $5 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with profit of $2.8 million, or 21 cents per share, in the same quarter a year before. Revenue rose 4 percent to $168.5 million from $161.8 million. For the full year, the company earned $31.4 million, or $2.31 per share, up from $27.7 million, or $2.11 per share, in 2008. Revenue rose to $668.2 million from $633.2 million.

National Healthcare and its affiliates operate 76 long-term health care centers, along with 33 home care programs, 7 independent living centers and 15 assisted living communities. Other services include Alzheimer’s units, long-term care pharmacies, hospice, a rehabilitation services company, and management and accounting services to third parties.

National Healthcare shares rose 19 cents to $37.64 in morning trading.  See NHC’s press release here.