James Spann, a CNA at Walnut Acres nursing home was arrested after being accused of attacking a 73-year-old resident earlier this year. Spann is charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery to a senior citizen. Spann put the resident in a chokehold and a headlock, according to police.
The incident happened on April 6th, but wasn’t reported to police until April 16th. The nursing home reported it to the state and an inspector came out to investigate. The inspector conducted an investigation, and then turned it over to police.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) removed the 2016 ban on the use of binding arbitration agreements by LTC facilities on July 16. Prior to 2016, the LTC industry widely utilized binding arbitration as the preferred means of resolving resident disputes, offering an informal and cost-effective process for resolving disputes without litigation. In 2016, the federal government banned binding arbitration for LTC facilities that participated in Medicare and Medicaid, despite strong objections from the LTC community. The industry later challenged the CMS ban in federal court and won. CMS then instructed state survey agencies not to enforce the ban pending further evaluation.
In the CMS Final Rule, binding arbitration is back (with some limitations). Some of the restrictions include:
- The facility cannot condition the resident’s admission on the signing of an arbitration agreement. Indeed, the facility must inform the resident (or legal representative) that he/she does not have to sign. This must be stated clearly in the agreement itself.
- The agreement must allow the resident to rescind within 30 days of signing. Because the resident can rescind up to 30 days, or not sign at all, it is advisable to document the arbitration agreement separately from other resident agreements.
- The agreement cannot contain language that prohibits or discourages the resident from communicating grievances to state or federal officials. Some consumer advocates objected that binding arbitration is an inappropriate forum for serious resident injuries or abuse. CMS responded, stating that binding arbitration does not prevent residents from reporting serious injuries or abuse to public authorities, nor does it relieve facilities of their obligation to self-report.
- The agreement, and any arbitration decision, must be retained by the facility for five years, and available for inspection. This same requirement, however, does not apply to settlement agreements. This may encourage more use of settlement agreements to resolve resident disputes, although any documentation relating to quality of care is likely open to inspection.
In its final rule, CMS acknowledged that it has no authority to annul existing arbitration agreements that are legally valid, and that its restrictions are prospective only. At the same time, CMS will allow facilities to enter into arbitration agreements with existing residents, even if initially banned in 2016. However, the arbitration agreement must meet current CMS requirements, and facilities cannot condition the resident’s continued care upon signing the agreement.
Some in the industry expect further legal challenges to the new CMS rule. Therefore, LTC facilities that believe in the benefits of arbitration should act now to implement CMS-compliant arbitration agreements for new and existing residents. Doing so now may protect these agreements from future legal challenges or changes.
A jury compensated the estate and family of a nursing home resident $1.8 million. The resident died as a result of a traumatic fall after hitting her head in a fall from bed as caregivers were changing linens while she was in the bed. Very tragic. Extremely preventable.
Doris Mitchell suffered a heat stroke from being left in an assisted living facility’s van for six hours. A lawsuit was filed against Elmcroft of Montgomery LLC alleging negligence and outrage. According to the lawsuit, the facility had taken Mitchell on a field trip with other residents. Several hours later, the daughter of Mitchell received a phone call from the facility asking if she had picked up her mother and that she was “missing.” Shortly after, Mitchell was found inside the van which was parked in the facility’s parking lot with the windows rolled up. According to the lawsuit, Mitchell was rushed to Jackson Hospital where she was diagnosed with a heat stroke and other medical complications.
“We hope to be able to get the full set of facts and find out exactly what happened. This obviously has to be a systemic failure in the system at the facility for something like this to happen,” J.P Sawyer, the attorney representing the family, said. “I’ve been handling these kind of cases for 25 years and I always say nothing shocks me, but this did shock me. It’s just you know unbelievable that they could leave someone on a van for that long and not recognize that she was missing.”
The woman’s family has sent WSFA 12 News the following statement regarding the incident:
“What our mother has endured is beyond our comprehension. We are still trying to absorb the appalling circumstances and we provide her the love and care she needs, and we ask for your prayers during this extremely difficult family crisis.”
Her family released the following statement after her wrongful death:
“Our family grieves today for our mother, Doris Mitchell. Only weeks ago, our mother experienced an ordeal that none of us could possibly imagine. She was locked in a closed van, alone, for over six hours on a day on which the heat index exceeded 105 degrees. The physical and emotional trauma of what she went through has broken our hearts.
When our mother got to the hospital, she had severe heat stroke and failing kidneys. Her fever was so high, they had to pack our 83 year old mother in ice. We have been praying for a recovery, but the episode was ultimately too much for our mother to bear.
It is hard for us to stop thinking about those horrible six hours. There is physical evidence to suggest that our mother, who is unable to walk, tried to escape the van. She could not. She was traumatized by the very people we trusted to take care of her.
We want to thank everyone for their messages of love and prayers for our family. It has meant so much during this extremely difficult time. Thank you.”
Collin County Sheriff’s Deputies say an assisted living facility failed to properly do a background check or verify a caregiver’s license and credentials when she lied about her credentials and posed as a registered nurse at an assisted living facility. They only discovered the fake “nurse” after she assaulted a 91-year-old defenseless resident. Investigators say she posed as a registered nurse at loving care home from March 2019 until June and assaulted at least two people during her employment.
Basanes initially applied for a “caregiver” job in March, but during the job interview said she was a registered nurse. The owner says Basanes gave her a license number which they tried to verify with the Texas Board of Nursing, but found no match. Despite no confirmation of a license, Basanes was able to begin giving around-the-clock care to some 10 to 12 patients.
Glenda Basanes is charged with injuring the elderly and violating nursing regulations. Basanes does not hold any healthcare certifications in the State of Texas. Collin County Sheriff’s investigators say Basanes, accused of assault, was actually arrested at the assisted living facility when she attempted to pick up her paycheck.
A short time after starting at the facility on March 4, Basanes allegedly assaulted a 91-year-old patient. She’s also accused of assaulting the co-owner.
During her arrest, detectives found some $50,000 worth of counterfeit bills in her purse along with a controlled substance – THC oil.
The operator of South Star Ambulance Service alleges that Pruitthealth—Augusta Hills facility repeatedly tapped the ambulance company for inappropriate, non-emergency services over a two-year period, and is asking for more than $150,000 back for those trips. SSAS first filed suit against Pruitthealth—Augusta Hills on April 8 for repeatedly ignoring warnings to more judiciously use its services.
Regional Services, which operates the ambulance company, alleges that since the SNF is a Medicare-eligible provider, it should apply for reimbursement for non-emergency ambulance transport. The alleged inappropriate trips were made between August 2016 and September 2018, according to the lawsuit.
Parent company Pruitthealth is based in Norcross, GA, and operates about 180 facilities in Georgia, Florida, and North and South Carolina.
On June 12, 2019, a report released by the Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General revealed that Nursing Home Abuse remains largely unreported. The report estimates that one-in-five high-risk hospital emergency room Medicare claims for treatment provided during the 2016 calendar year were the result of potential abuse or neglect, including injury of unknown source, of beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNF).
The report revealed that nursing homes are failing to comply with regulations established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Under these regulations, SNFs are required to report incidents of abuse and neglect to Survey Agencies, who are then required to report the incidents to the CMS or local enforcement agencies. However, both SNFs and Survey Agencies have been failing to meet their federal requirements. Currently, the CMS may not be doing all they can to prevent abuse as it does not require all potential incidents to be tracked in the Automated Survey Processing Environment Complaints/Incidents Tracking System.
The Office of Inspector General (“The Office”) is urging CMS to take action since “preventing, detecting, and combating elder abuse requires CMS, Survey Agencies, and SNFs to meet their responsibilities.”
The Office suggests that CMS work with Survey Agencies to train SNF staff on identifying and recording all potential incidences of abuse or neglect. They also suggest that CMS require Survey Agencies to record and track all incidents of potential abuse or neglect in SNFs, as well as all referrals made to local law enforcement and other agencies. CMS concurred with these recommendations and stated they are creating a plan to ensure more accurate reporting in the future.
James Riley was arrested for allegedly sexually contacting residents at the Good Samaritan Home nursing home he worked at as a Chaplain. Riley, 58, of Quincy was charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Person Over 60.
The police were notified and advised that residents had alleged inappropriate sexual contact by the Chaplain, Riley, who is no longer employed at the home.
Video footage caught two CNAs from Abington of Glenview nursing home abusing and taunting a 91 year-old demented and vulnerable adult named Margaret Collins. The video included an aid throwing gowns on the resident when staff was aware of her fear of the gowns. The cruelty made the family feel obligated to file a lawsuit, not only for their family member, but also to bring awareness to the all too common abuse of the elderly.
The two CNA’s, Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa, were both fired and arrested for their actions. Montesa was responsible for recording the video, including the caption of “Margaret hates gowns” with two laughing emoji’s. Cortez was actively waving and placing the gown on Margaret, even though she was clearly upset and in distress. Margaret’s daughter states that her mother suffers from anxiety due to the incident.
With the National Council on Aging reporting that 1 in 10 American elders over 60 experience some form of elder abuse, situations like Margaret’s cannot be left unreported. Furthermore, residents with Dementia oftentimes are unable to report their abuse, leaving it to their families to look for the signs. Margaret’s daughter, Joan Biebel, stated “If they [the CNAs] were in her room, they should have been there for a reason ― to help her, assist her ― not to exploit her and threaten her and demean her and post it on social media,”. Reporting these situations of elder abuse is a way to inform others of the signs of abuse and report it.