NBC News had a scary story about nursing home employees stealing morphine.  How could a health care provider take away pain medication from a vulnerable adult and replace it with water?

A 30 ml morphine bottle was emptied and replaced with water at a Fort Myers nursing home.  The executive director of Magnolia Court Nursing Home contacted deputies after she discovered the medicine was missing on April 1st.   Only eleven people had access to the cabinet since March 26th.   They should give each one of them a polygraph test and a drug test.

Medications especially narcotics should be kept under the lock and key.

 

 

The Boston Herald had another article about a sexual assault at a nursing home.  Are these nursing homes doing background checks or interviews? Where is the supervision?  Antonio Aburjaile has been charged with sexually assaulting two nursing home patients who were entrusted to his care.  He was indicted on three counts of indecent assault and battery on an elder and lewd and lascivious behavior.

A certified nursing assistant, Aburjaile worked at the Elizabeth Seton Residence, where he helped patients with range-of-motion exercises, fed them and made their beds.  His alleged victims include two women, ages 71 and 70.

Aburjaile was fired in March 2009 following a state Department of Public Health review of the complaints against him.  The nursing home tried to defend themselves by alleging that Aburjaile successfully underwent a background screening before he was hired.

The L.A. Times had an article about the police investigation into a sexual assault at a nursing home in California.  Detectives arrested Christopher Richardson, a 20-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting three elderly women in a nursing home.  He allegedly broke into the Heritage Rehabilitation Center on Feb. 16 and attacked the three women.  Richardson allegedly entered the building through an unlocked window sometime between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.  He was arrested a week later by Gardena police in connection with a similar sexual assault.

"The women were traumatized but not hurt," said Lt. Duane Allen of the Carson sheriff’s station.

 

Lake County News had an article about the sentencing of a man who raped a nursing home resident.  Humberto Carrizales Rodriguez was sentenced to six years in prison for the rape of an elderly woman in a nursing facility.  Rodriguez also was convicted of elder abuse of an individual under his care.   Rodriguez was a caretaker at the Wild Rose Living Facility and the victim, Jane Doe, was an 88-year-old resident living at the facility. 

On August 7, 2009, after the victim had gone to bed, the defendant forcefully had sexual intercourse with her while she repeatedly told him to stop.  Partida also noted that at no time during the defendant’s interview with the probation department, or his letter to the court, did he express any remorse for his actions. Instead he blamed the victim, in essence stating that she enticed him into bed.  What a psychopath.

 

The victim’s children spoke about how their mother’s condition has worsened, mentally and physically, since the night of the assault. They find her crying for no reason at all and stated that, since the attack, she is now frightened of other males who work and live at her facility.

 

 

“The forced rape of a woman is always a heinous, callous and cruel crime,” Passalacqua said. “The fact that this was also committed against an elderly woman living at a residential care facility makes it even more atrocious. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who abuse seniors.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another tale of greed and callous disregard to nursing home residents in California Watch.  The article explains how nursing homes in California were given an additional $880 million in government funding to increase staffing, boost wages, and improve care, but the vast majority used the extra taxpayer money to pad their bottom lines and give bonuses to corporate managers.

Most either cut staff, paid lower wages or let caregiver levels slip below a state-mandated staffing minimum. Many nursing homes appeared to use the cash infusion to help bolster their bottom lines, according to a California Watch analysis of state nursing home data.   The failure to improve staffing led to increased violations and neglect.

“Money talks, we know that,” said Molly Davies, director of the nonprofit Wise & Healthy Aging, the Los Angeles elder care ombudsman program. “If you’re going to give extra money, there needs to be an understanding of what the state is going to get in return and what those clients are going to get in return. I don’t think that was made clear.”

In 2008, dozens of homes operated beneath the decade-old staffing standard – which is set at a minimum of  three hours and 12 minutes of caregiver attention a day for every nursing home patient. In the homes where staffing lagged, patients suffered.  The state, however, has not issued staffing-related fines to any of the homes that failed throughout 2008 to reach the minimum staffing level, records show.

 

The Columbus Dispatch had a story about another greedy nursing home chain charged with Medicaid fraud.  Carington Health Systems is a nursing-home company that owns several properties in Ohio.   Carington is accused of overcharging the Ohio Medicaid program at 21 facilities across the state.  Apparently Carington routinely overstated certain consulting expenses in 2003 and used this as the basis for further overstatements from 2005 to 2010..

"It is critical that Medicaid dollars are spent as intended and that we hold accountable those providers who try to take advantage of the system," said Attorney General Richard Cordray. The company "engaged in deception," according to the complaint, indicating that the company was aware that it was overcharging.

Another Attorney General who is showing the courage to protect taxpayer money instead of protecting corporate lobbyists.

Five of the 21 nursing homes are in central Ohio: Arlington Nursing Home in Newark, Bryden Place in Columbus, Forest Hills Center in Columbus, Heath Nursing & Convalescent Center in Heath and Nelson Park Care Center in Columbus.

 See related article at Dayton Daily News.

The Ithaca Journal had an interesting article related to the increase in Medicaid fraud convictions.  As my earlier blog mentioned, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is doing a great and courageous job protecting tax payers and vulnerable nursing home residents.  His office recovered more than $283 million and obtained a record 148 criminal convictions last year.  The unit has recovered some $660 million in taxpayer funds in the past three years. That includes 103 convictions and $113.8 million in restitutions ordered in 2007 and 144 convictions and $264.5 million in restitutions in 2008.

Cases, settlements, convictions and achievements are detailed in the article.

 See related article from the Times Union here.

 

WIVB.com had an article about how video evidence of neglect of residents can lead to investigations and prosecutions.   New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has charged nearly two dozen health care workers with failure to care for nursing home patients.  The State Attorney General’s office brought in hidden surveillance cameras to a few nursing homes.  (Videos are on the WIVB.com site). 

After investigating two nursing homes for several weeks, 22 nursing home employees were charged.  Five of them are certified nurses aides charged with endangering the welfare of a disabled person for routinely failing to transfer patients out of bed, or provide insulin, or provide range of motion exercises. Two Licensed practical nurses face felony charges of falsifying records to cover it up.

Because of the tremendous amount of taxpayer money being wasted and the prevalence of fraud, I wonder why every Attorney General does not use surveillance cameras during investigations into abuse and neglect.  Perhaps, it is all the campaign contributions from the health care industry and their lobbyists.  The South Carolina Attorney General, to my knowledge, has never been involved in any investigation of a private for profit nursing home that resulted in a prosecution.  You would think it would politically benefit most Attorney Generals to protect vulnerable and elderly citizens.

 See related article here and on WGRZ.com here