WFLA had an article about the horrific neglect and abuse suffered by Willie Johnson at the hands of the caregivers at Habana Health Care Center owned and operated by Consulate Health Care. His daughter Tonya Baker said her elderly father is living in poor conditions and shared photos to prove it.  “Not taking care of my dad, not feeding my dad, going in there finding my dad, wet Pampers, Depends, not being changed,” she said.

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“My daddy’s not getting the care that he’s paying for to stay in that facility,” Baker told me.  Baker has filed five complaints with the State’s Agency for Health Care Administration about the nursing home. Four out of five times, they found the nursing home violated its own rules or law. But despite the state’s involvement, Baker says problems persist.

“I also went in there and had them take my daddy’s air conditioning out the wall because he had a lot of mold in there, in the air conditioner and in the air conditioner wall,” explained Baker.

The photos include one where he has a busted lip. Baker said the facility told her he was punched by a roommate. Another photo shows her father with a gash on his forehead after a fall in the shower.

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News Channel 20 had an article detailing the problem in Illinois nursing homes but it applies to most other states too.  The most recent audit by the Inspector General’s Office of Health and Human Services says Illinois has the highest number of nursing home neglect incidents in the U.S.  Unfortunately, at least 40 percent of these incidents go unreported to local authorities.

 

Newsweek reported that enrollment for health insurance under ObamaCare is healthy with less than a month to go in the current sign-up period, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal agency.  That brings the total number of enrollees in this period to 2.3 million, which is almost 900,000 people — or 64 percent — more than the number of customers who signed up during the first four weeks of enrollment in 2016, according to CNBC.  The figures included more than 566,000 new consumers and 1.7 million renewals, with total Healthcare.gov users exceeding 8.1 million.

The current enrollment period ends December 15.  Americans have much less time to sign up than in the past.  The Trump administration is deliberately making the HealthCare.gov portal unavailable at key times to discourage participation.

The Japan Times reported a good example of what happens when a nursing home is understaffed and the caregivers get burnt-out from being overworked.  Hisashi Minakawa, a caregiver at a Tokyo nursing home was arrested over the murder of an 83-year-old resident at the facility in August, the police said.  Minakawa admitted to the killing, the police said. The victim, Kan Fujisawa, “repeatedly wet the bed and I couldn’t stand it anymore,” Minakawa was quoted by the police as saying.   Fujisawa suffered Parkinson’s disease and could not control his bladder.

The killing took place in the early hours of Aug. 22. According to the police, Minakawa lost his temper after Fujisawa wet the bed multiple times the previous night. He strangled Fujisawa, threw him into a bathtub and drew hot water, according to the police.  Minakawa had been working a night shift with another worker on the night of the homicide but was alone with Fujisawa in the bathing facility.

Prior to his arrest he told the police he found the victim dead after he was away tending to an emergency call within the nursing home. But there was no record of such a call, according to the police.  The police launched the murder investigation after spotting evidence of strangling — a broken bone in Fujisawa’s throat.

The Sun Sentinel had a great article on new reforms to increase safety in Florida nursing homes.  A dozen bills to reform nursing homes are under consideration in the Florida Legislature after 14 people died at a Hollywood, Florida, nursing home that lost power during Hurricane Irma.  Many of the bills require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators capable of powering air conditioning in the event of a power loss.

The latest give new teeth to Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, which records show has regularly turned up fewer complaints each year under Gov. Rick Scott.  The Ombudsman program, which is supposed to look out for residents in Florida’s 683 nursing homes and thousands of assisted living facilities, would be allowed to conduct undercover operations inside nursing homes, posing as patients or employees, to look for abuse and neglect.

The big boost to the state Ombudsman program is unique among the many bills. Another novel portion requires facilities to allow residents’ families to monitor them electronically as a safeguard against abuse.

The multitude of other bills includes:

SB 284: Filed by state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, this bill requires nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators that can power air conditioning in the event of a loss of power, and requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to conduct an unannounced inspection at least every 15 months to check and make sure the generator is in working order. The bill requires facilities to have enough fuel to power generators for five days.

HB 479: Filed by state Rep. Patricia Williams, D-Lauderdale Lakes, this bill requires an unannounced inspection by AHCA every four months. It also requires nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators to power air conditioning and enough fuel to last for five days.

HB 327: Filed by state Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, this bill requires AHCA to carry out an announced inspection each May before hurricane season and requires facilities to have generators that can power air conditioning and enough fuel to last four days.

SB 372: Filed by state Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, this bill would require generators to power air conditioning and enough fuel for four days. It also requires AHCA to carry out an announced inspection in May before the start of hurricane season. Additionally, it requires the Public Service Commission to ensure that utility companies treat nursing homes and assisted living facilities with at least 50 residents that offer critical medical care as high priorities, similar to hospitals.

HB 443: Filed by state Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, requires nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have current contact information on file with both residents and the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman. It also mandates that residents be allowed to access personal records on file at the facility.

SB 830: Filed by Farmer, this bill is identical to HB 443.

SB 558: Filed by state Sen. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, this bill requires all health care facilities that provide overnight care — including nursing homes and assisted living facilities — to have generators that can power air conditioning and enough fuel for four days. The generators must be able to maintain conditions throughout an entire facility.

HB 435: Filed by state Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie, this bill establishes a matching grant program, funded with $5 million every year through 2023, so that facilities buying generators can get a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the state on a first-come, first-serve basis. The grant is open to both public and private facilities.

HB 437: Filed by Lee as well, this bill requires facilities to have generators and enough fuel for seven days.

HB 331: Filed by Slosberg, this bill adds new language to the state’s patients bill of rights, requiring facilities to send an explanation for any relocation in writing to both a resident and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.