Syracuse.com reported the tragic and preventable choking death of nursing home resident Maureen A. Bali.  She was a resident at Huntington Living Center.  Bali was diagnosed with dementia and wore dentures to bite and chew solid foods.  The family is suing because their mother choked on a grilled cheese sandwich and died.  Huntington staff “negligently, carelessly and recklessly fed” Bali the food without her dentures, according to the lawsuit. She died on Dec. 22.

On Dec. 19, 2015, Bali was fed a grilled cheese sandwich as a meal but did not have her dentures in her mouth to help her chew the food. Bali choked on the sandwich, aspirated and stopped breathing, the lawsuit said.  Apparently none of the staff supervised or assisted the resident with eating the sandwich.

Officials at Finger Lakes Health, which oversees Huntington Living Center, declined to comment on this lawsuit.

 

The Sentinel reported that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has placed a temporary manager at the Golden Living nursing home on Poplar Church Road in Camp Hill after ABC27 reported on inspections showing hygiene issues and medication errors in the facility, along with an incident involving maggots in a patient’s feeding tube.  The manager has been at the facility since July 19.

 The Department of Health says several substantiated complaints and “potential for resident harm” led to the decision to place a temporary manager at the facility.   The temporary manager’s job is to evaluate practices and advise management about changes that need to be made.

A 64-year-old nursing home resident at the Golden Living Center overdosed on heroin last week.  LaPorte police reported two staff members at the Golden Living Center found the woman on the floor looking confused and bleeding from her nose. The woman had taken heroin, according to police.

 Police said a small amount of the drug was then located inside her purse. She also said a man related to another resident of the nursing home gave her the heroin, telling her to “take a little,” police said. The woman was transported to LaPorte Hospital and later a treatment facility.

 

Read below for an article originally published for Summit Behavioral Health, here

 

The leading public health agency in the United States is urging doctors to stop prescribing opioids for patients suffering from chronic pain, noting that the risks of taking such drugs far outweigh the benefits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published updated guidelines for distributing these powerful, highly addictive drugs. Vicodin and OxyContin are two prescriptions included in the guidelines. These measures come as a result of the nation’s prescription painkiller epidemic, which the CDC says poses a compelling threat to the health of the country. Read More →

The M Report had an article about sixty-five House members support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s proposed rule to prohibit the use of forced arbitration in consumer contracts.   See letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

“In May, the CFPB proposed a rule that would ban class action waivers in forced arbitration agreements for financial products and services, thus paving the way for consumers to file class action lawsuits against businesses they believe have harmed them financially. The House Democrats wrote in their letter that the proposal “is a critical step to protect the public interest by ensuring that consumers receive redress for systemic unlawful conduct.”

“By restricting class actions and class-wide arbitration in consumer contracts, these clauses enable corporations to avoid public scrutiny by precluding access to the courts.”

Letter written by 65 House members

“By restricting class actions and class-wide arbitration in consumer contracts, these clauses enable corporations to avoid public scrutiny by precluding access to the courts,” the letter stated. “This is particularly problematic for small, diffuse misconduct that harms innumerous consumers.” The lawmakers encouraged Cordray to proceed quickly on the rule “to ensure that consumers have equal protection under the law.”

 

 

McKnight’s reported that national for profit nursing home chain Genesis Healthcare has agreed to settle with the DOJ for $52.7 million under an “agreement in principle” to settle four separate U.S. Department of Justice investigations.  The provider currently operates nursing homes in 34 states and employs nearly 90,000 workers nationwide.

The settlement will resolve allegations over inadequate staffing numbers at several of the provider’s long-term care facilities from 2005 through 2013, along with allegations of billing fraud for hospice services. The settlement covers alleged Medicare rule violations for physical therapy at two subsidiaries owned by Genesis.

Genesis said it has already set aside $39.1 million for the settlement, but it expects to record an additional loss contingency expense of $13.6 million in the second quarter of 2016 as a result of the lawsuits. They added that they plan to pay the full amount over a period of five years.

 

CNBC reported the “largest single criminal health-care fraud case ever brought against individuals” by the U.S. Justice Department — an alleged Medicare fraud and money laundering scheme that netted participants a whopping $1 billion since 2009.  Philip Esformes, the owner of more than 30 Miami-area skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, as well as a hospital administrator and a physician’s assistant were charged in an indictment with conspiracy, money laundering and health-care fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami said.  “Esformes is alleged to have been at the top of a complex and profitable health-care fraud scheme that resulted in staggering losses — in excess of $1 billion,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro. Prosecutors say that Esformes operated the Esformes Network for “more than 14 years … to enrich himself through false and fraudulent billings.”

The indictments claim that the massive scam cycled thousands of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries through his Esformes Network facilities despite the fact they didn’t qualify for such care and helped Esformes, fund a lavish Trumpian lifestyle that included private jets, a $600,000 watch, meetings with escorts in hotel rooms, and a private basketball coach for his son.

At those facilities, prosecutors said, they also “received medically unnecessary services that were billed to Medicare and Medicaid,” the government-run health programs that cover senior citizens and the poor.

“Furthermore, Defendant [Esformes] and his co-conspirators preyed upon his beneficiaries addictions by providing them with narcotics so that the beneficiaries would remain in Esformes Network facilities, allowing the cycle of fraud [to] continue,” prosecutors said in a court filing.  “Among the thousands of people cycled through the fraudulent network were, for example, drug addicts who were allegedly prescribed opioids – including OxyContin and Fentanyl – and other narcotics in order to entice them to stay in facilities where they didn’t belong,” she said at a news conference.

Prosecutors said Esformes faces a potential prison term of life imprisonment under federal sentencing guidelines.

In addition to Esformes, 49-year-old Odette Barcha, who had been director of outreach programs at Larkin Community Hospital, and physician’s assistant Arnaldo Carmouze, 56, also were charged in the case and arrested.  Esformes and his co-conspirators are alleged to have further enriched themselves by receiving kickbacks in order to steer Medicare beneficiaries to other health-care providers — including community mental health centers and home health-care providers — who also performed medically unnecessary treatments that were billed to Medicare and Medicaid, the office said.

According to court documents, Esformes paid $15.4 million in 2006 to resolve civil federal health care fraud claims for similar charges.  But authorities said Esformes was able to continue with alleged crimes after that date through a sophisticated money laundering scheme.

See additional article at Fox News.

 

Lex18 reported the guilty plea in the case of a nursing home medical technician who told police he intentionally injected a patient with a lethal dose of insulin. According to the Attorney General’s Office, 36-year-old David T. Satterfield intentionally injected 86-year-old Marcelline Vale with a fatal dose of insulin in 2007.

Additionally, Satterfield admitted to injecting two other patients with insulin without a medical reason, according to authorities.  Satterfield was sentenced to serve 25 years behind bars.  Satterfield told police after his arrest in 2014 that he wanted to go to jail because he had no money, had a terminal illness and was living in a boarding house.

The New York Post tabloid reported the disgusting accusations against Aron Cytryn, who runs Haven Manor Health Care. When nurse Wendy Wynter asked Cytryn for a raise in 2014, he summoned her to a private space, asked if she wanted a “little fun” and began assaulting her, according to a lawsuit Wynter filed against him.

Despite her protests, Cytryn “dropped his pants and underwear down to his ankles, exposing his penis . . . leaving only a rope dangling from his waist,” according to court papers.  Wynter believes the rope “had something to do with his Jewish faith,” the lawsuit claims.

The 64-year-old Cytryn allegedly told her “that she would have to do him a favor if she wanted him to do her a favor.” He then asked Wynter, 40, for a “handjob.”

When she tried to leave, Cytryn “started after her, fumbling over his shoe as his pants were still around his ankles,” according to court documents.

She escaped the office, which was “set up like a bedroom,” but the abuse would continue as Cytryn “would purposely attempt to grope [her] in places where he knew the security cameras would not likely pick up his inappropriate conduct, such as in the copy room,” the suit says.

Female coworkers shared similar stories of being harassed by Cytryn, Wynter said.  She found another job after another administrator told her Cytryn wanted to fire her and asked whether she “was willing to do whatever it took to keep her job.”

Instead of concentrating on providing quality care to the residents, she “was forced to spend time worrying about her next encounter with Cytryn,” according to court papers.

 

UPI reported on a new technological gadget that could save lives in nursing homes.  To prevent nursing home residents from falling or otherwise injuring themselves, an alert system involving lights, alarms and call buttons lets certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, know a resident needs assistance.

In an effort to speed up the time it takes from a resident calling for help and that help arriving, scientists at Binghamton University have developed a smartwatch app to alert nursing home CNAs wherever they are at a facility, with the hope of providing better service and preventing injuries.

 The concern is in the amount of time it takes for CNAs to respond to calls for help especially when short-staffed. If a resident needs to use the restroom, after a certain period of time they’ll just stand up to go by themselves — but if they are not strong enough, they’ll fall, which can cause injuries or worse.

According to the design, published in the journal Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population, the scientists combined the existing safety systems at nursing homes, which often include call lights, chair and bed alarms, wander guards, call-for-help options and others — into a single app.

The system requires CNAs to sign in, where they receive a display specific to their assignments. If a resident calls for help or triggers an alert, a notification shows up on the screens of all staff members, including those assigned to the resident.

Photo by John Brhel/Binghamton University
 “The alert message is more informative than the existing system and, at the same time, it will help nurses to prioritize,” Li said. “We will mark or highlight alarms from residents who are actually assigned to whoever is using the app.”

The constant monitoring and connectedness of the system, allowing CNAs to always be plugged in, could help make nursing homes safer.

“The CNAs are exited about this idea and they are interested in this device,” said Haneen Ali, a researcher at Binghamton University. “They would like to see the adoption of new technologies in their working environment because all of the problems in their current situation.”