Laszlo Molnar, owner and operator of AA Adult Family Home in Auburn, was recently caught on camera raping an 83 year old dementia patient. Molnar has been charged with second degree rape, and it is unlikely that he will escape a conviction as the family of the patient caught the rape on camera. After sensing that something about the home wasn’t quite right, the family placed a hidden camera in the patient’s room. When they reviewed the tapes they found the footage of Molnar’s assault. The other residents of the home have been moved to other nursing homes and a hospital in the area. See article at NY Daily News.
McKnights reported that the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General has held that nursing home oversight is a top priority for the past two years. It was ranked 7th in priorities in 2013 and 5th in 2014. The OIG explains that nursing home oversight is becoming more of a priority because the nursing home industry continues to have problems with abuse and neglect. Hopefully, in 2015, we can begin to see some of the results of moving nursing home oversight up on the list of priorities.
Using the IMPACT Act which mandates hospice surveys every 36 months and the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 which provides incentives for high-performing nursing homes, the OIG hopes to decrease the number of adverse events in nursing homes. Nursing homes are also impacted by two other priorities on the 2014 list – fighting Medicare fraud and ensuring the security of electronic health information.
Extendicare Healthcare Services is the seventh largest chain of nursing homes in the United States. At the time of writing, the chain has 137 facilities in the US, and 21 in Canada. In an agreement in October 2014, Extendicare Healthcare Services agreed to pay $38 million to settle a federal case revolving around allegations of abuse and Medicaid and Medicare fraud. There were also claims that the chain understaffed in 33 of their facilities. Extendicare denied any wrongdoing, but settled the case for $38 million.
CBS reported that Antonia Nieto has been sentenced to 24 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting two residents at the nursing home where he worked. Nieto, a CNA at Broomfield Skilled Nursing in Colorado, assaulted a 59 year old patient and a 73 year old patient in July and August of 2013.
In his trial, both witnesses testified against him and prosecutors played a phone recording where he confessed to his crimes and said he deserved to be punished. He was convicted of two counts fo first degree sexual assault on an at-risk adult and one count of unlawful sexual contact on an at-risk adult.
The Judge sentenced him to 12 years to life for each of his crimes, to be served consecutively. District Attorney Dave Young said, “He is heading to prison for a long time, and that is what he deserves.”
In this blog we often highlight instances of abuse and neglect at the hands of nursing homes and their employees. However, a new study finds that abuse can occur from a less reported source – other residents of the home. According to this study, 1 in 5 nursing home residents are victimized by another resident within a month. Invasions of privacy, physical harm, and sexual assault are all such common problems between residents that “staff members seem almost unaware” of the problem, according to Karl Pillemer, lead author and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University.
The results of this resident on resident aggression can be frightening. Bruises, scratches, and fractures all occur, and the resident’s frailty means the dangers are even higher, Pillemer says. Often these problems occur between residents who live together or who live in close proximity to each other. Roommates and hallmates, for example, are the most likely sources of abuse and aggression. Crowded conditions and low staffing levels can also affect the amount of abuse.
The type of resident who is most likely to participate in aggression against other residents is younger, mobile, active, and has memory problems. Residents with dementia and other memory-related issues can often have mood swings and behavioral issues which result in their acting out aggressively. It is also important to note that this study only discusses abuse or aggression directed at residents by other residents. As this blog details quite often, aggression, abuse, and neglect occur in many other forms in nursing homes – from low staffing levels, abuse by caregivers, financial fraud from administrators, and these are just a few examples. For more information on preventing elder abuse, check out the National Center on Elder Abuse. See article here.
CBS reported that Roy Lee Jackson, a resident of Rockwall Nursing Center, was found dead in the woods outside the facility. Jackson had last been seen around 5 a.m. Rockwall police issued a Silver Alert asking for help finding 74-year old Roy Lee Jackson just before 11 a.m.. From the corner where the nursing home sits at the stop sign, Jackson apparently walked two blocks away in into the woods where a search team found his body. He was in a hospital gown, pajama pants and wearing now shoes. If he took a direct path, it could have taken him less than four minutes to get to where he was found. Why did it take so long for the facility to call the police?
Upon discovering his disappearance, Senior Care of Rockwall staff allegedly notified police and dispatched a search party to look for Mr. Jackson. No explanation was given why they did not find Jackson sooner.
Medicare’s website rates the facility with one out of five starts or “much below average” while state records from the latest inspection show Rockwall Nursing Center was cited for 30 violations of federal and state codes. On March 7, 2014 records state police found a patient a mile and a half away on the inside shoulder of the interstate during afternoon rush hour. The government cited the facility for failing to adequately supervise him. They also blamed Rockwall Nursing Center for not putting a code alert band on the man’s ankle, despite a doctor’s order.
The report claimed 27 patients at Rockwall Nursing Center were required to have the bands at that time, which alert staff if a patient tries to leave.
Before you move a loved one into a nursing home you can get educated on line. Here you can see how Medicare ranks facilities, gives you health inspection reports and lists complaints and deficiencies.
In 2015, it is easy to forget that the events of the Civil Rights movement were only 50 years ago. Much has changed in the half a century since the Civil Rights movement, but unfortunately many things have not. Racism and bigotry still exist. Read it here.
Diane Walker placed her sister, Perry Randle, at the Waverly Health and Rehabilitation Center nursing home after she began to suffer from a muscular degeneration diseases. Perry and her family trusted that she would receive care and treatment for her condition. Diane wanted to place her sister somewhere where she would feel safe, but instead, she was physically abused and insulted by staff.
Perry suffered from unexplained bruises, sluggish behavior, and racial slurs that she has endured. Diane claims that over the past year, her sister Perry has had a number of bruises which couldn’t be explained, sluggish behavior which made Diane suspect she was overmedicated, and she has reportedly been called the n-word and told to “shut up before I slap the black off you,” said Starr Pierre, Perry’s daughter. A whistleblower has come forward to confirm the racial slurs that Perry was called. Social services is investigating the home and will turn their investigation over to the police when they are finished.
The Center for Public Integrity published a story detailing how some of the lowest performing nursing homes in the country are backed by federal mortgage loans. 240 one-star nursing homes were granted HUD-backed loans. When nursing homes default on these loans, the public pay for it because they are backed by the federal government. The fact that the feds grant loans to more than 200 one-star nursing homes, the lowest ratings given by the HHS’s nursing home rating system, “raises serious questions about the allocation of public resources, communication between agencies and what she called a shocking lack of supervision,” says Charlene Harrington, retired nursing professor from the University of California at San Francisco.
The HUD data shows a total loss of $187 million, adjusted for inflation. This means that since the program’s inception in 1959, it has cost the taxpayers $187 million. Since 2009, the HUD backed mortgages granted to nursing homes totaled $2 billion. For profit and non-profit nursing homes are both eligible for these mortgage loans. Though for profit nursing homes represent more than 2/3 of one star loan recipients. Over 30% of the one-star mortgage recipients were also among the 5% identified in 2012 of being consistently poor performing facilities.
Republican Judge W. Neil Thomas held in a Memorandum and Order on Constitutionality of Caps that Tennessee’s arbitrary cap on noneconomic damages to compensate victims of negligence is unconstitutional. The state doesn’t have a constitutional right to cap damages paid out by doctors and other businesses as a result of personal injury lawsuits at $750,000. That number was established by a state law in 2011. Thomas’s opinion comes as part of a case in which the defendant, AT&T, asked for summary judgement since a jury trial dealing with so-called “pain and suffering” damages is overruled by Tennessee’s $750,000 cap. Thomas ruled that a summary judgement wouldn’t be possible because he does not interpret the 2011 cap as constitutional.
Footnote 1 undercuts the unfounded reasoning of tort reform advocates.
1 More fundamentally, I find no study or data which supports any conclusion that jury verdicts in Tennessee are excessive or not supported by the evidence. I further have found no study or data which shows that economic development is hindered or encouraged by limits on otherwise valid jury verdicts. Nor did I find any study or data which supports the proposition that limits on damages in jmy verdicts hinders or encourages economic development.
“The right to trial by jury includes the right of the jury to determine the amount of damages,” says Nashville-based attorney David Randolph Smith. “When the legislature imposes damage caps, it removes the power of the jury. The Tennessee Constitution is the most jury trial-friendly state constitution,” Smith explains. “It provides that the right to trial by jury shall remain ‘inviolate’ and … reiterates its importance in [a second] provision.”
The Volunteer State is only the latest one to bring damage cap legislation into court. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that the state’s noneconomic damage limits were unconstitutional. In the Missouri case, Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, the state high court ruled 4-3 that the law capping noneconomic damages at $350,000 “is unconstitutional to the extent that it infringes on the jury’s constitutionally protected purpose of determining the amount of damages sustained by an injured party.”
The Georgia Supreme Court in a 2010 decision, Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery v. Nestlehutt, which invalidated a similar Georgia law based on a state constitutional right to a jury trial. Critics of capping damages counter that people harmed by the negligence or recklessness of others deserve to be compensated for their pain and suffering. The jury system exists to compensate people who have been wronged, they say. Other states—such as Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky and Wyoming—have provisions in their state constitutions that prohibit the limitation of damage awards.
Glen Campbell has shared the above video for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” as he battles Alzheimer’s Disease. The ballad’s lyrics detail Campbell’s struggle with the illness, but the music video utilizes personal home video and performance footage from throughout Campbell’s life, the result is a truly poignant experience.
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was penned for the upcoming documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. The film features interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, U2‘s The Edge, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and others discussing Campbell’s impact. Campbell was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011. The disease has progressed to the point where the Country Music Hall of Fame member was admitted to a special care facility in Nashville in April 2014.
“Sadly, Glen’s condition has progressed enough that we were no longer able to keep him at home,” Campbell’s family wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He is getting fantastic care and we get to see him every day. Our family wants to thank everyone for their continued prayers, love and support.”