WSOCTV reported that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigators visited Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center three days after Channel 9 exposed allegations of patient abuse.  Investigators spent four days at Lake Park nursing home and found repeat problems.

State officials said that their visit was in response to a new complaint in March.  The investigation stated that a patient had not received a shower in two weeks and staff provided him with a washcloth to wash his face, “but that’s it.” The facility was also cited for “neglecting to feed and provide incontinence care for dependent residents.”

Channel 9 uncovered two lawsuits against the facility that are alleging sexual assault and abuse.

The continued failure of the facility during three federal surveys of record show a pattern of the facility’s inability to sustain an effective Quality Assurance Program.

Lake Park nursing is a special focus facility, one of only about 80 in the country, which means it has a history of persistent poor quality, according to Medicare.  Medicare said the facility has shown ‘no improvement for 12 months.

In the report, the facility’s administrator blames family members. “One of the biggest barriers to achieving substantial compliance is difficult families,” it read.


The state is now investigating a local nursing home days after a Channel 9 investigation exposed allegations of abuse. [Nursing home faces lawsuits after employee pleads guilty to sexually assaulting patient].

The Channel 9 investigation aired Thursday and by the weekend, state investigators were at Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Indian Trail. Eyewitness News anchor John Paul went back to the facility looking for answers.  Paul talked to new family members who said they’re concerned about some of the conditions they’ve witnessed there.

Before this investigation, two lawsuits were filed on behalf of residents who are now deceased. The suits alleged sexual assault, poor treatment and untimely death.

According to Nursing Home Compare on the Medicare website, Lake Park is a one-star facility owned and operated by PRINCIPLE LONG TERM CARE, INC tha tis on the Special Focus facility watch list. On January 15, 2016, the facility was fined $132, 600 and then again on November 2, 2016 for $277,052.

Sexual assaults are among the most severe cases against residents of nursing homes. However, it is also the least detected, reported, and acknowledged type of problem in this institution.  The University Herald reported on a new study that found sexual assault is prevalent in nursing homes. However, this issue has been very under-reported to the point of being ignored.  The study observed 15 past studies in peer-reviewed journals that focus on the topic of sexual assaults on nursing home residents.

Moreover, white females suffering mental and physical conditions are more likely to be victims, since they are the most vulnerable. The study, published in “The Gerontologist” found that these sexual assaults happen because legal examinations aren’t done regularly due to administration complexities, Eureka Alert reported. Training and institutional policy in these nursing homes are also major problems that propagate the cases of sexual assaults. Ultimately, nursing homes are not equipped adequately to stop these sexual assaults.


The study suggests that nursing home staff should have more training to help them identify and handle these sexual assault cases. The study’s authors said there is a gap in knowledge about sexual assaults, which is why staff should be trained.

According to Monash University’s Daisy Smith, who is also the lead author, there is a lot more that is needed to be done for those that are most vulnerable in these nursing homes. Regulatory investigative personal doesn’t have the right resources to properly identify and handle these cases of sexual assaults in nursing homes, said Smith.

The Healthcare Finance News reported the settlement between Prestige Healthcare and the U.S. Department of Justice.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Prestige is an owner and operator of nursing homes in several states.  Prestige Healthcare has agreed to pay the federal government nearly $1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in a scheme to falsely bill Medicare for unnecessary genetic testing, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nursing home operators such as Prestige place orders with clinical laboratories for medically necessary diagnostic laboratory tests for their residents. In order to be considered medically necessary and thus reimbursable under Medicare, the laboratory test must be ordered by the physician treating the resident.

The allegations charge Prestige with failing to ensure that physician orders were obtained for the genetic testing prior to its being conducted, and that Prestige physicians were not aware of, and did not agree with, the medical necessity of the testing.

The United States alleged that in 2014 Prestige was approached by an entity known as Genomix, which claimed that it could perform genetic testing on Prestige’s Medicare residents in order to ascertain whether those patients were properly metabolizing their medications. The federal government alleged that in 2014 and 2015, Prestige provided Genomix with insurance and personal medical information, as well as access to patients in nursing homes in several states for purposes of conducting the testing. Genomix conducted the testing by taking cheek swabs of each Prestige patient and then sending the cheek swab to a laboratory for analysis.

Prestige failed to ensure that its patients were informed of the testing prior to its being conducted, and provided with the opportunity to decline the testing.

The DOJ said the lack of physician orders and patient consent was discovered during a survey conducted by state regulators in late 2015.


When CNN published a report revealing widespread sexual abuse and assault in nursing homes, many people asked the same question: Why isn’t more being done to stop it?

The multi-part investigation revealed disturbing cases of rape and sexual abuse by nursing assistants and found that more than 1,000 nursing homes had been cited for mishandling suspected cases of sexual abuse.
In response, the National Association of Health Care Assistants pledged to take action. The organization said it was “saddened and sickened by the CNN investigative report” and that it planned to immediately ramp up its education and training efforts. It said it especially wants to ensure that nursing assistants know how to spot potential abuse and report it promptly.
But federal legislation introduced two days after CNN’s investigation was published could make it far more difficult to hold problematic nursing homes accountable for abuse, according to elder abuse attorneys. The bill, submitted by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, would limit the legal liability of nursing homes, among a wide variety of other doctors, medical facilities and companies.

The New Yorker Magazine had an article on how and why U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired because of his investigation into Secretary Price. Bharara met with Trump at Trump Tower.  When Bharara left the meeting, he informed reporters that the president-elect had asked if he were willing to remain in his post, and that he had answered in the affirmative.  Then suddenly Trump asked Bharara and 45 other U.S. Attorneys to resign. Bharara refused to tender his resignation. He was then fired.

Bharara announced his unemployment on Twitter, and then posted this enigmatic remark:

Bharara’s implication, then, was that his office was investigating something that the White House preferred to keep quiet. The former U.S. Attorney was overseeing an investigation of Health Secretary Tom Price’s stock trades prior to his firing, according to a source who spoke with ProPublica.

In December, the The Wall Street Journal reported that the former congressman had traded more than $300,000 worth of stock in health companies over a four-year period — during which he pushed legislation that could have benefited those companies.

Since then, three of Price’s trades have drawn heightened scrutiny:

(1) In March 2016, Price bought $15,000 worth of stock in Zimmer Biomet, a medical-device company. Two days later, the congressman introduced a bill that would have protected that company from a cut in its Medicare reimbursement rate. Zimmer Biomet then put money in his campaign coffers.

(2) That same month, Price purchased thousands of dollars worth of stock in six pharmaceutical companies — and then led a legislative and public-relations effort to defeat regulations that would have (almost certainly) hurt those companies’s profits.

(3) Last summer, Price made a bulk purchase of discounted shares in Innate Immuno, an Australian biotechnology company. Shortly thereafter, he helped push through legislation that expedites the FDA’s approval process — a reform that directly benefits Innate Immuno, which is working to get its wares onto the U.S. market. Price has already enjoyed a 400 percent paper gain on his investment in the company.

The Wall Street Journal found that “the cabinet nominee was one of fewer than 20 U.S. investors who were invited last year to buy discounted shares of the company — an opportunity that, for Mr. Price, arose from an invitation from a company director and fellow congressman.”

In January, Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter asked the SEC to investigate Price’s trades, arguing that there was reason to suspect that he had violated the STOCK Act — a 2012 law that bars members of Congress from using nonpublic information for personal profit.

Bharara’s office was also reportedly investigating Fox News for an array of potential crimes, including whether the network’s executives committed wire fraud by allegedly hiding financial settlements paid to women who had accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.

The Orlando Sentinel had an editorial about a grave injustice in Florida.

There are few more consequential or critical decisions for families than choosing the right nursing home or assisted-living facility for a parent or other elderly relative who needs long-term care. For those families, Florida’s licensing agency for health care promises some peace of mind: “easy access” to its information on “provider performance.” Such reporting “is a key element that promotes enhanced patient care and consumer choice,” according to the website of the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

But as the Sentinel’s Kate Santich reported this week, AHCA has not been keeping its promise on inspection reports for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, where more than 160,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents live. Basic information — dates, places and key details — has been blacked out in those reports.

AHCA officials blamed the redactions on the need to comply with federal health-privacy laws, which were made more stringent in 2009. But regular followers of the state inspection reports told Santich that they observed a trend toward withholding details within the past few months.

And the censored words go well beyond personally identifying medical information, such as names, Social Security numbers or dates of birth. Those details have always been exempt from public disclosure requirements.

Santich’s story included a passage from one inspection report of “a resident in the bathtub, with the water running, slumped over and ——-.” Another report referred to “a body floating in the ——.”

Nathan Carter, an Orlando personal injury attorney who said he has been reviewing the reports for 20 years, told Santich that the state’s redaction process has become “arbitrary and inconsistent.” He accused the agency of trying to make the reports “useless” by removing “substantive information.”

Deleting substantive information from inspection reports or, even worse, withholding them, would make long-term care facilities less vulnerable to lawsuits alleging abuse or neglect. The daughter of a man who died in 2008 in a Lake Worth nursing home told Santich she needed the intervention of a state legislator to get AHCA to release its inspection reports on the facility. The man’s family eventually won a $2 million wrongful death case against the nursing home.

A spokeswoman for AHCA told Santich that the agency is now using an automated process “to redact documents efficiently.” She conceded that “there is [a] possibility that some items may be inadvertently redacted.” The agency is trying to “reduce this as much as possible, but there is the potential for this to continue to happen.”

On the eve of Sunshine Week, an annual commemoration that spotlights the state of open government, censored inspection reports for nursing homes and assisted living facilities are a timely reminder of the need for Floridians and their legislative representatives, now meeting in Tallahassee for their annual session, to protect the right to know.

Brian Lee, who served as the state’s ombudsman for long-term care for seven years, accused AHCA of “blatant” disregard of Florida’s open-records requirements. Michael Milliken, the current ombudsman, said he has contacted AHCA about the problem with the inspection reports, but doesn’t have the authority as an employee of another agency, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, to change the policy.

Lee, now head of a national watchdog group called Families for Better Care, was forced out of his state position by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011 after clashing with the nursing home industry. Lee has offered an eminently reasonable suggestion to AHCA: Suspend its current automated redaction program until it can come up with a better system.

If the agency won’t comply voluntarily, it’ll be up to legislators who care about the health, safety and dignity of Florida seniors to make sure the veil on AHCA’s inspection reports is lifted.

CNN continued its investigation on the epidemic of sexual assaults in nursing homes.  One article called “Six Women. Three Nursing Homes. And the Man accused of Rape and Abuse” explains how a sexual predator by the name of Luis Gomez could terrorize vulnerable residents for years.  The nursing home managers refused to believe the accusations or even investigate them.

One victim told police that the director of nursing at the Brian Center Health & Rehabilitation, Gail Robertson, reacted to the story with disbelief. She told the resident “to go live under a bridge, because nothing like that happened” in her facility, the woman recalled.  This was not the first or last time Robertson covered up Gomez’s crimes.

With four victims just at the Brian Center, police expanded their investigation to anywhere Gomez had worked. The detectives learned Gomez had been the subject of sexual abuse claims reported at several different facilities.  Officers had been called to investigate Gomez as early as 2011 at Smoky Mountain Health and Rehabilitation Center

Luis Gomez moved to North Carolina from Guatemala when he was 40. After earning his CNA certification in 2000, Gomez first worked as an in-home caregiver. Then he was hired by a nursing home called Autumn Care of Waynesville. During the next 15 or so years, he would bounce between Autumn Care and at least four other nursing homes, including the Brian Center.  He’s been married at least three times, and has a reputation for dating other women on the side. Co-workers reported his “flirting” crossed the line, and he got in trouble for harassing female co-workers.

“He’s a real Jekyll and Hyde,” says Linda Gomez, who is in her 60s now and still married to him.  “My personal opinion is he’s not good to be out in society. If he’s going to do it to an older person … he’s going to do it to anyone.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told CNN that all allegations against nursing aides are “investigated, as warranted” and recorded in a state database where potential employers could learn of pending allegations or substantiated findings.

“Unlike law enforcement investigations and criminal cases in which it must be determined that a person committed the alleged offense ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ we must simply find that it is ‘more likely than not’ that a person committed the act,” a representative said in an email.

But all of the complaints against Gomez had been deemed “unsubstantiated,” meaning nursing home and state officials ruled they couldn’t be proven. And because the state only flags substantiated complaints about an employee — a policy that’s consistent across the country — any facility looking to hire Gomez would have seen a record showing a longtime nursing aide with no history of problems.

State investigators, working in conjunction with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ultimately cited the Brian Center for a litany of problems: failure to protect residents from sexual abuse, failure to inform the alleged victims’ families and physicians, failure to report suspicion of a crime immediately to law enforcement, failure to supervise the alleged perpetrator until he left the facility, failure to assess the residents immediately for injuries, failure to notify the state promptly of allegations, failure to empower staff to call law enforcement.

The facility’s parent company which owns and operates the facility, SavaSeniorCare, said “We took steps to keep all of our residents safe from that point forward,” a spokeswoman said by email.


CNN conducted a special investigation into the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes in nursing homes.  “The unthinkable is happening at facilities throughout the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.”

“It’s impossible to know just how many victims are out there. But through an exclusive analysis of state and federal data and interviews with experts, regulators and the families of victims, CNN has found that this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.”

“Even more disturbing: In many cases, nursing homes and the government officials who oversee them are doing little — or nothing — to stop it.”

“In cases reviewed by CNN, victims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations — or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. And because of the high bar set for substantiating abuse, state regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver.”

It’s these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice — and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes.”

“Some accounts of alleged sexual abuse come from civil and criminal court documents filed against nursing homes, assisted living facilities and individuals who work there. Other incidents are buried in detailed reports filed by state health investigators.”

“Most of the cases examined by CNN involved lone actors. But in some cases, a mob mentality fueled the abuse. And it’s not just women who have been victimized.”

“Despite the litany of abuses detailed in government reports, there is no comprehensive, national data on how many cases of sexual abuse have been reported in facilities housing the elderly.”

“More than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse have been reported since 2000 in long-term care facilities (which include both nursing homes and assisted living facilities),according to federal data housed by the Administration for Community Living. But agency officials warned that this figure doesn’t capture everything — only those cases in which state long-term care ombudsmen (who act as advocates for facility residents) were somehow involved in resolving the complaints.”

“The result: CNN exclusively found that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities during this period. (This includes some of the cases provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.) And nearly 100 of these facilities have been cited multiple times during the same period.  Complaints and allegations that don’t result in a citation, which the government calls a “deficiency,” aren’t included in these Medicare reports. In addition, national studies have found that a large percentage of rape victims typically never report their assaults. So these numbers likely represent only a fraction of the alleged sexual abuse incidents in nursing homes nationwide.”

“Yet the facilities that currently house more than 1 million senior citizens typically pay low wages to nursing assistants (about $11 or $12 an hour), making it difficult to attract and keep quality workers. And during the most vulnerable hours, the night shift, there are often few supervisors.”

The article discusses numerous horrific examples; I encourage you to read the full article.

Legal advocates, government regulators, criminal investigators and medical experts agree that sexual abuse in nursing homes can be extremely challenging to prevent and detect. But they say many facilities should be doing much more to protect vulnerable residents.

  1. “When you have a sexual assault claim, you shouldn’t go to a conclusion she’s a problem patient. You should investigate as a sexual assault until proven otherwise.” — Dave Young, district attorney for Colorado’s 17th Judicial District
  2. “Preserve evidence! Don’t bathe or change clothing, sheets, etc., when an assault is suspected.” — Sherry Culp, Kentucky long-term care ombudsman
  3. “Most abuse is undetected and never reported mainly because observable signs are missed or misinterpreted. A little training could go a long way.” — Tony Chicotel, staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
  4. “As with nearly every type of abuse and neglect seen in nursing homes, the better staffed the facility the less likely sexual abuse will occur. This is a crime of opportunity, so the more supervision the better.” — Kirsten Fish, elder abuse attorney
  5. “There needs to be a reporting system. …The system doesn’t keep track of cases that haven’t been substantiated, [and] their rules for substantiating a complaint are just astronomical. It’s virtually impossible to substantiate a complaint.” — Lt. Chris Chandler, Waynesville, North Carolina, Police Department



WDAY reported on the lack of regulatory oversight in Minnesota. The Minnesota Health Department performed on-site investigations of just 10 percent of the 3,400 complaint allegations it received from the public about nursing home and home-care treatment last year, according to the agency’s statistics. The agency only did on-site inspections of 102 allegations — less than 1 percent — of the nearly 21,000 allegations it received from providers’ reports.

The number of vulnerable adults receiving care and the ease of lodging complaints have both grown in recent years, resulting in an exponential increase in the number of complaints the department takes in.

“Thousands of complaints are not investigated so maltreatment continues, and less severe issues may escalate to more serious harm,” the agency said in a budget request this year. Those uninvestigated complaints in the last year included more than 4,000 falls, nearly 2,000 complaints of emotional or physical abuse by staff and nearly 3,000 “unexplained injuries,” the department said.