The Toledo Blade reported on an interesting story about Liberty Nursing Center of Toledo nursing home.  The nursing home lost its license after being repeatedly warned by the state several months ago that it faces loss of its license for “ongoing failure … to protect residents from abuse” but it is still operating and has appealed the action.

Liberty Nursing Center of Toledo was notified in August that it would lose its license after an incident in which staff failed to properly respond to an incident of sexual abuse.  In August, Liberty was notified by the department that, barring a substantive change in care quality, its license would be revoked that month. At the same time, the department suggested terminating Liberty’s provider agreement, which would deny it Medicare and Medicaid funding.  The facility was fined $103,000 for failure to comply with Medicare and Medicaid regulations.

"The facility had a history of problems and was designated a Special Focus Facility by CMS, indicating a history of poor care that warrants stricter monitoring. Recent problems include a December, 2011, incident in which a motorist found a resident wandering without a coat two miles from the facility, a 2009 event in which two patients left the building and allegedly used cocaine and marijuana, and two incidents in which patients jumped out of windows and injured themselves. Each time, Liberty failed to develop care plans for other residents at risk of escape, the health department said."

"In the most recent incident, in July, which triggered the license revocation, a male resident diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, delusions, and sexually aggressive behaviors entered the room of a partially paralyzed female patient. Nurses on duty found him lying on top of the woman with his pants removed and her incontinence brief pushed aside."

The administrator ordered them to “clean up” the woman, and she did not undergo a doctor’s examination. Liberty did not notify her guardians, file an official report with the Toledo Police Department, or notify the health department.

Liberty has appealed allowing it to continue to operate. Liberty’s parent company, Liberty Health Care Corp., operates more than a dozen other nursing homes across Ohio.  The chain’s owner, Linda Black-Kurek, is the immediate past president of the Ohio Health Care Association, an industry lobbying group.

 

The Miami Herald had an interesting editorial on Florida’s decision to allow children with disabilities to reside in nursing homes.  Below are excerpts:

"Here’s how the state of Florida justifies its practice of warehousing severely medically challenged children in nursing homes: “They are strictly regulated to ensure that the appropriate services are provided specifically for children,” noted part of a defensive statement from the state Agency for Health Care Administration. “They provide a safe, secure and enriching environment for the children in their care.”
"It is beyond reason that the state is waging a pitched battle with the U.S. Department of Justice, which has slammed this policy of stashing “medically fragile” children and teens in nursing homes."
"But records obtained by The Miami Herald show that there definitely is a problem. A constantly playing television is about the only “socialization” that the children are getting. Playrooms, such as they are, have no toys; there are no trips to a park. Too many kids are receiving no education whatsoever."
"And Florida residents are paying for this substandard, and sometimes inhumane, treatment. In fact, state taxpayers are paying a lot: Florida pays nursing homes about $213 a day to care for a frail elderly person, records show. But the state will reimburse homes more than $506 a day to care for a child.

"Whom is the state really serving here? Let’s see: The U.S. Justice Department is appalled at the policy; many parents want to care for their children at home, but the state won’t help them. Still, the state swears putting the children in nursing homes is the right thing to do and, oh yes, the nursing home industry is thrilled with the lucrative arrangement."
 

In a report by Ashley Michelle Williams of the WBAL Radio Station in Baltimore, Maryland, Tarslia Jackson was found guilty of assault.   Jackson abused an elderly female resident living at the Northwest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Baltimore. Back in August, while Jackson was a nursing home employee, she pushed and slapped the 71-year-old lady when the pair had a “verbal disagreement.”   Another employee witnessed the incident and reported it to the appropriate authorities. 

Jackson was put under supervised probation for one year and not allowed to work with or around “vulnerable adults.”  She was also sentenced to pay her court costs, and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund has received a contribution of $35 from her. 

SF Gate reported on California’s Supreme Court’s decision allowing a lawsuit regarding chronic understaffing to proceed against the owners and operators of the facilities. The decision allows a group of patients to sue the owner of 16 nursing homes in Alameda County for allegedly violating California’s minimum nurse-staffing standards. "The rules require long-term skilled-nursing facilities to provide each patient with 3.2 hours of nursing care per day. The patients claim homes owned by Covenant Care failed to meet those standards at least 35 percent of the time over a four-year period that started in December 2006."

In seeking to dismiss the suit, the company argued that only state regulators had the power to enforce the standards and that the law did not authorize a private lawsuit.  The law allows nursing home residents "to bring actions themselves to remedy violations of their rights," including the "right to reside in an adequately staffed facility," said Presiding Justice Ignazio Ruvolo in the 3-0 ruling.  The state’s high court unanimously denied review of Covenant Care’s appeal.

 "In response to two critical reports by federal inspectors, the Department of Public Health has cited state funding shortages for its failure to enforce staffing regulations and said it was working to improve its own staff training. The department has also proposed reducing its obligations to inspect nursing homes, but state lawmakers rejected the proposal in May."

 

The Wall St. Journal reported on the new OIG Report about the common practice of overbilling in the nursing home industry.  Medicare fraud is rampant.

"Hundreds of nursing homes overcharge Medicare every year for so-called skilled services, adding $1.5 billion in annual costs to the program, according to a federal report to be released Tuesday.

About one-fourth of Medicare bills from facilities examined in the report were incorrect. The majority of these claims involved so-called upcoding, where a nursing home or other provider inflates the cost of its bill to Medicare by claiming more intensive services were done than actually performed. In other cases, nursing homes provided treatments that were inappropriate."

 

The Florida Times Union reported that Florida’s Republican Tea Party Governor Rick Scott will cut Medicaid.  Nursing home industry and patient advocates agree that the cuts will harm nursing home residents.  Scott’s plan includes Medicaid rate cuts of $429 million as part of a budget-cutting exercise. Though state economists’ early projections show a $71 million budget surplus going into 2013-14, Scott required all state agencies to submit an initial budget plan that would cut spending by 5 percent.

"More than 60 percent of that cut — $274 million — would be shouldered by nursing homes under the proposal presented this week by the Agency for Health Care Administration."  This will clearly affect staffing and the care of the residents.

 

“Two-thirds of my costs are people,” said Marty Goetz, CEO of River Garden Hebrew Home in Jacksonville. “If that level of cut happens, I will have to reduce staff, salaries or hours.”

 

 

"During the spring legislative session, lawmakers cut $38 million from nursing homes, and $49 million for hospital outpatient services. The latter would see another $119.4 million reduction as part of the agency’s proposal."

 

Health care-associated infections (HAI) such as Clostridium difficile are a growing problem in health care facilities. Each year C. difficile infections can be attributed to an estimated 14,000 deaths in the U.S. and has resulted in a growing demand for educated and certified infection prevention and control specialists (IPs).

Thirty-four states now require hospitals to publically report their rates of infections and that number is expected to increase. Published studies indicate that health care facilities with trained IPs on staff have lower health care-associated infections.

Irena Kenneley, Ph.D., APRN-BC, CIC, adjunct member of the nursing faculty at American Sentinel University, discusses how health care professionals with an Infection Prevention and Control Certificate will play a critical role in decreasing hospital infection rates and offers tips for combating the spread of C. difficile in the heath care facility.

For more information about American Sentinel University’s Infection Prevention and Control Certificate program, go to http://www.americansentinel.edu/health-care/infection-prevention-and-control-certificate.  Keep reading to see full press release.

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MediSafe Project launched today the first-ever mobile app that not only reminds users when it’s time to take their medication, but also sends their family, friends and caretakers alerts if they miss a dose, leveraging the power of support systems to keep loved ones healthier. MediSafe Project comes in compatible iOS (beta) and Android versions and is available worldwide for free.

 

Inspired by their diabetic father’s accidental insulin double-dose, brothers Rotem and Omri ‘Bob’ Shor view MediSafe Project as a way to lower hospitalization and mortality rates, prolong health through sustainable behavior changes and decrease long-term healthcare costs. It offers peace of mind that the people you care about are taking medications on time, even when you can’t be there.

 

An American dies every 19 minutes from skipping medication or taking meds incorrectly; the problem costs U.S. hospitals $100 billion every year. The co-founding brothers hope ripple effects from people using MediSafe Project will combat both aspects of the staggering problem of medication non-compliance.

 

Watch the introductory video. The full press release follows my email signature; screenshots follow that. For more information, image requests, or to arrange an interview with MediSafe co-founder and CEO Omri “Bob” Shor, please contact Allison Seifert at allison.seifert@theclinegroup.com , or 610-538-6700 x1619.

 

 

 

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The Afterlife Education Foundation (AEF) will host its Third Annual Afterlife Awareness Conference June 21 – 23, 2013 in St. Louis. The conference will feature workshops and presentations by a nationally-recognized consortium of researchers, educators and counselors in the fields of thanatology, bereavement, theology and paranormal studies.

 

The conference was organized to meet the need for a national discussion on the metaphysical aspects of death, dying and bereavement, including after-death communication, out-of-body experience, near-death experience, hospice care and grief processing. This year’s roster of presenters includes some of leading names in the field, including Dr. Raymond Moody, author of the breakthrough book, Life After Life; neurosurgeon Eben Alexander MD, (recently featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine); Dr. Ken Doka, senior consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America, and many other noted luminaries in end-of-life care and afterlife research. The conference will also include presentations and gallery-style readings by several acclaimed psychic mediums.

 

"This conference is an extraordinary opportunity to look at death and bereavement in a new light," explains Terri Daniel, president of the Afterlife Education Foundation, the non-profit educational organization that sponsors the yearly event. "Our audience is made up of hospice workers, scientists, therapists, clergy, spiritual seekers, the bereaved and the curious. We’ve all found, throughout our years of practice, that understanding how consciousness continues after the death of the body is a key to providing wisdom and comfort for the bereaved and overcoming the fear of death."

 

Detailed information on the conference can be found at www.AfterlifeConference.com.

 

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview with conference principals or presenters, please contact Terri Daniel at 541-549.4004 or info@afterlifeconference.com

 

WHAT: The Third Annual Afterlife Awareness Conference

WHERE: The Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, MO.

WHEN: June 21 – 23, 2012

CONTACT: info@afterlifeconference.com – 541- 549-4004

 

My Fox 5 reported that St. Thomas More, a Maryland nursing home, is accused of deadly neglect of James Franklin because of poor nursing care. St. Thomas More in Hyattsville has an extensive history of health and safety violations. State inspections show the facility was cited for 60 deficiencies in 2010, another 36 last year and this year it was cited with 27 deficiencies, nearly triple the state average. The repeated violations prompted the state to list St. Thomas More as a special focus facility, a nationwide Medicare list of nursing homes with a history of persistent poor quality care. "One state health official told Fox5 patients at St. Thomas more are at higher risk than at other nursing because of the ongoing deficiencies."

"A former patient at St. Thomas More claims he almost died. James Franklin remains weak and bed ridden, six months after his stay at the 230-bed facility for what should have been the road to recovery."

"In May, Franklin was discharged from the hospital and sent to St. Thomas More for rehabilitation. Medical records show he had a sacral ulcer, commonly called a pressure ulcer or bedsore. At that stage it was small and healing. A month later, he was rushed back to the hospital, the bedsore now nearly as long as a football covering his back and buttocks, with an infection deep into the tissue and muscles."

"The wound had massive gangrene and a foul smelling discharge putting him into septic shock, when the body’s organs begin to shut down."

"The nursing home settled a medical malpractice lawsuit last year for an undisclosed amount, in the 2005 death of a patient from infected bed sores. The same kind of infection that nearly killed James Franklin."

In Maryland and most other States including South Carolina, the legal hurdles to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and financial caps on jury awards make it difficult to hold bad nursing homes accountable.