The Times-News had an article about the IRS investigation in to the financial shenanigans at Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation in Weber City.  Brain Center is part of the old Mariner and now SavaSeniorCare chain of facilities who have had a history of questionable financial relationships with related companies and siphoning of funds away from facilities to line their own pockets.

Authorities confirmed that Internal Revenue Service agents paid a visit to a Brain Center in Scott County. IRS Special Agent Patrick Brown said that agents with the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit were at the Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation, 105 Clonce St., Weber City, on official business.  I don’t understand why the IRS can’t provide more information about the allegations especially if it involves taxpayer money.

Federal documents pertaining to the case are currently sealed, according to the U.S. District Court Clerk’s Office in Abandon.  Eye witnesses said approximately 25 federal authorities spent almost 8 hours at the center. The witnesses said the agents searched the center’s business offices before loading boxes of documents into three vans.

 

The Courier of Montgomery County reported the allegations of mistreatment against famous attorney Don Brown.  Known chiefly for his defense that led to the exoneration of Clarence Lee Brandley Sr., who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in a 1980 murder case.  For his work in setting Brandley free in 1989, Don Brown was the first recipient of the Montgomery County Defense Lawyers Association’s Atticus Finch Award in 2005.

Numerous health problems, including a brokn hip. Once he had surgery, he applied to several nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. He entered Willis Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Aug. 19 because the center offered long-term acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing, and it takes Medicare and Medicaid payments.

However, Brown’s daughter, Celia, is accusing Willis Nursing and Rehabilitation of overmedicating her father and not treating his infections and bed sores.   Her father had bed sores so severe and untreated that his tailbone was sticking out of the skin. She claims the nursing home had him on an anti-psychotic drug, and gave him so much Vicodin, a pain reliever, that he couldn’t eat, leading to kidney failure.

Don Brown was taken to Conroe Regional Medical Center Sept. 3, and died there three days later.

Celia Brown will continue to fight for her father, she said. She and friends organized protests outside the nursing home Sept. 18 and Saturday, and she plans to order a private autopsy.

“All I want is justice.”
 

The Duluth News Tribune reported the investigation that found a Duluth nursing home responsible for failing in May to give a patient prescribed medication that led to her fatal stroke.  Incredibly,  Lakeshore in Duluth has been cited for neglect in the case of a woman who died of a stroke last June after the home failed to give her a drug-thinning medication for 18 days.  Lakeshore Inc. was cited for neglect of health care because of the medication error, the Minnesota Health Department said.

 

According to the unit’s investigative report:

The woman was a resident at Lakeshore Inc. from May 6 to May 25, following hospitalization for an infection. Her stay was to allow her to regain strength so she could return to assisted living. She had been prescribed Coumadin, a drug thinning medication, for 10 years after experiencing small strokes. The drug inhibits blood clots that can lead to strokes. But at Lakeshore, she was not given the medication, nor the required blood test on May 7 to monitor its effectiveness. As the result, she missed 18 doses.

On May 25, after regaining strength, she was discharged and returned to assisted living. Coumadin was not on her discharge medication list but should have been. Two days later she was admitted to a hospital and died on June 4, the result of a stroke due to a preventable blood clot.

 

 

The trial arising from the rape of a nursing home resident by a CNA will continue today.  Josiah A. Olowoporoku, 48, of Pawtucket, is charged with first-degree sexual assault for allegedly raping the woman during his 3-to-11 p.m. shift at the nursing home June 16, 2009.  The jury deliberating the case of a certified nursing assistant accused of raping a woman with Huntington’s disease at Charlesgate Nursing Center in Providence, R.I. iwent home this weekend without a verdict.

Over the past two weeks, jurors heard from witnesses who included two doctors; staff members on the night in question; a nurse who specializes in examining sexual-assault victims; and a Charlesgate social worker.

The jury, which has deliberated about four hours, asked the judge to read back the testimony of the nurse who examined the 57-year-old woman at Women & Infants Hospital for sexual assault on June 18, 2009, two days after the alleged incident. The nurse, Tara Capuano, found that the woman had a bruised left shoulder, a scratch on one side of her vagina, and abrasions on the back and sidewalls of her vagina. No semen was found.

When a juror asked what would happen if they couldn’t reach a decision by a certain date, Judge Vogel instructed the panel that it was very important to listen to each other and that they were as equipped as any jury to decide the case.

 

KTTC out of Rochester, Minnesota had an article about the investigation into the death of a nursing home resident due to the negligence of the facility.  The Minnesota Department of Health says the acts and omissions of a CNA at Samaritan Bethany Home in Rochester contributed to the death of a patient earlier this year.

According to the report, a nursing assistant at Samaritan Bethany Home neglected or did not provide proper care to a resident, while helping her go to the bathroom. The resident needed assistance by a nursing home staffer, a walker and a gait belt according to doctor’s orders and the individualized plan of care.

The assistant told an MDH investigator she used the walker and gait belt, but admitted she left the resident standing alone in the middle of the room. The patient fell and suffered a back fracture, as well as a head injury. According to the report, the assistant said she knew the resident needed assistance.

The resident was transported to the hospital and died on May 18, 2010 of pneumonia with the fall listed as a contributing condition.

 

The Lufkin Daily News out of Texas reported the arrest of nursing home employee Sherree Denise James for alleged abuse of an elderly resident. James worked for Grace Care Center Nursing Home as a certified nurse aid when the alleged incident happened on Aug. 21, according to an arrest affidavit. James had taken an 83-year-old woman into the shower room when two other certified nurse aids said they witnessed the resident crying and telling James to “quit hitting her,” the report stated.

The two witnesses said they heard James slap the victim five times, and when they went in to see what happened, the woman’s face was “extremely red and James was pulling her hair very hard causing pain,” the affidavit stated. James was also reportedly twisting the woman’s ear, and the victim had a knot on her head.

According to the report, James told the two co-workers, “the way you control this resident is to bend her thumb back to her wrist if she gets out of control.”

CNAs need to be trained on how to handle behavior problems with residents.

 

Tricities.com reported the story of the nursing home employee named Andrew Griffith accused of stealing medications from residents.  The Sullivan County Grand Jury indicted the LPN on charges of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a dependent adult, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, deceit or theft, and theft of property.

Nurse Griffith worked at Wexford House Nursing Home for three years until April. The Kingsport nursing home terminated Griffith after employees found pills missing during one of four daily medication cart audits. Griffith was able to cover his tracks for a period of time as he stole medicine. Those pills were prescribed to anywhere from two to five patients.

After reporting Griffith to police, it took the TBI four months to put together its case against the man. According to the TBI, the former employee violated his patients’ trust.

"When you leave your loved one in the care of another person, you expect them to be responsible and to take good care of them," TBI Spokesperson Kristin Helm said. "Unfortunately, he was not doing that."

 

 

The Seattle Times had a shocking article about the systematic pattern of covering up neglect and abuse in adult family homes.  In fact, a Seattle Times investigation has found, cover-ups by adult family homes are not unusual. The Times found that over the past five years, at least 357 of the adult family homes in this state have concealed cases of abuse or neglect of their residents. Many of those cases involved serious injury or death.

In dozens of these cases, untrained or unlicensed caregivers mishandled residents’ medications, sometimes giving them fatal overdoses. In other cases, residents became ill after being denied basic care and hygiene. A Seattle man died from infection after his catheter was not changed or sterilized for four months.

In many cases, these caregivers tried to conceal abuse or neglect by forging medical records, lying to state investigators or threatening residents with eviction if they provided witness statements. Worse yet, The Times found, even when DSHS was notified of an incident of abuse or neglect, as required by state law, the agency many times failed to adequately investigate.

Washington law requires mandatory reporting of suspected abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults in nursing homes and adult family homes. State legislators passed that requirement in 1984, intending to provide a wide safety net — if one caregiver failed to report abuse or neglect, someone else along the chain of care would be required to do it.

The Times found that many homes routinely violated this law but rarely faced stiff punishments. Even when adult family homes and their workers have been caught trying to hide problems, most have kept their state-issued licenses.

DSHS, which is required to inspect each of the state’s homes once every 18 months, finds on average about 20 failure-to-report violations each month, mostly by reviewing residents’ files and taking note of any reportable injuries.  Even so, officials acknowledge, the agency rarely passes on the evidence to law enforcement for further action.

DSHS officials acknowledge that adult-home caregivers have routinely failed to report neglect. In the past 22 months, DSHS investigators have uncovered 425 instances of failure to report, each of which resulted in administrative, noncriminal fines and other sanctions, said Kathy Leitch, assistant secretary for aging and disability services.

However, in analyzing state files for 2007-09, The Times found at least 53 cases in which DSHS officials had failed to adequately investigate reports of neglect or to forward evidence of criminal acts to police or prosecutors.

Among cases that DSHS knew about but did not refer to police:

• A witness inside a Bellevue adult home described how two residents were neglected and had developed life-threatening pressure sores.

• A health-care worker who visited a Renton adult home provided evidence of a resident who was "soaked in urine," with blood draining from two open wounds.

• A health-care provider revealed that a resident from a Shoreline adult home had lapsed into a coma after untrained caregivers failed to swiftly provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The agency also failed to notify police even after its investigations found evidence of crimes. For instance, DSHS officials never notified police about the 2006 death of Nadra McSherry, 80, who died from untreated pressure sores, which developed at a Tacoma adult home. Caregivers at Narrows View Manor, owned by Arlie Leno, were aware for weeks of the advanced wounds, which were open to the bone, but failed to notify family members or seek emergency help, DSHS found. The Times profiled McSherry’s case earlier this year but only recently learned that her death was not reported to police.

In another case this year, DSHS found that a Seattle adult home had failed to provide proper care to a resident who had suffered a broken arm, allowing him to suffer for nearly two weeks. DSHS levied a $1,200 civil fine against the home in June. But it wasn’t until The Times inquired about the case that the agency reported the violation to Seattle police.

 

 

Numerous media outlets have been discussing the ongoing problems with Indiana’s oversight of nursing homes including The Indianapolis Star and The Journal Gazette,   Over the past five years, the Health Department has passed along about 300 inspection reports to the attorney general in accordance with a federal law that says health inspectors must report major problems to licensing officials. At some homes, inspectors found such problems year after year. Complaints against nursing home administrators in Indiana are less likely to reach the Indiana State Board of Health Facility Administrators—that state’s nursing home regulatory body—than in other states.  Most states take a broader approach to complaints against nursing home administrators, and will file complaints based not just on personal responsibility, but on facility wide or systemic issues.

But from those 300 reports, an Indianapolis Star investigation found, the attorney general brought the board a grand total of six complaints.  None since 2009.  The Indiana state attorney general’s office has said it only files complaints with the board if it finds the administrator was personally responsible for the infraction.   In forwarding a complaint to the state board, the attorney general simply calls for a review. It becomes the state board’s responsibility to follow through and determine if action is warranted.

 

The connection between Indiana’s abysmal record for nursing home performance and what appears to be lax oversight can’t be a coincidence. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that in 2007, nearly 90 percent of Indiana nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards. Thirty-five percent of the facilities – almost twice the national average – were cited for causing actual harm or placing patients in jeopardy.

It wasn’t always like this in Indiana.  Here is the history:

In 2000 alone, Indiana Attorney General Karen Freeman-Wilson reviewed 300 inspection reports of nursing homes and forwarded 92 of them to a state board for review. At least 40 of the reviews resulted in a fine, reprimand or other discipline.

In November of 2000, nursing home owners and trade groups representing them contributed at least $11,000 to her Republican opponent, Steve Carter. He was elected, and the number of reports resulting in complaints fell dramatically. Of 463 reports forwarded by health officials during his two terms, Carter filed only 38 with the Indiana State Board of Health Facility Administrators.

Greg Zoeller, who served as Carter’s chief deputy and succeeded him in 2009, received 40 inspection reports last year. Not a single report resulted in a review by the state.

Numerous incidents over the last few years show an atmosphere of lax oversight. In June 2008, health officials and police investigated a rape at a Marion nursing home and learned that the administrator knew that the resident accused was a sex offender on parole. The administrator did not convey the history and make sure nurses and aides knew that history and developed no plan to protect other residents. When the attorney general’s office received the report from health officials, it could have filed a complaint, triggering a review by the state board. No complaint was filed; no review of the case was made; no disciplinary action has been taken against the administrator.

In another case, health officials forwarded a report on an Indianapolis nursing home where emergency call lights were disabled for 11 days, leaving residents with no way to summon help. Six residents suffered falls in the meantime. No complaint was filed by the attorney general.

At a Muncie nursing home in January 2009, inadequate heating units in 26 rooms left residents shivering in temperatures in the mid-50s. The inspection report found the administrator was aware of the problem. Again, no complaint.

 

 

The Hill reported the new medical malpractice study that (once again) proves that the cost of litigation for health care costs is minimal.  The study shows medical liability consumes only 2.4 percent of the nation’s healthcare spending each year.  The report shows that limiting the rights of injured patients will do practically nothing to lower health care costs.

Our focus should be on preventing the 98,000 deaths that occur every year because of preventable medical errors. The new study — published in the journal Health Affairs — found the annual cost related to medical liability is $55.6 billion. Most of that spending ($45.6 billion) is related to so-called "defensive medicine" — the preventative and diagnostic tests, drugs and other procedures that doctors prescribe in order to limit the risk of malpractice.