Cedar Haven Acquisition, LLC, the company that owns Cedar Haven nursing home filed for bankruptcy in a Delaware court last month to avoid accountability.  Cedar Haven Acquisition, LLC, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, meaning they will be able to reorganize the business and keep it open as part of the bankruptcy proceedings without paying judgments or compensating victims of neglect and abuse.

Cedar Haven Acquisition is a subsidiary of Stone Barn Holdings, LLC. According to the filing, Cedar Haven owes money to at least 200 creditors. Cedar Haven owes over $7 million to the top 20 creditors alone, according to the filing.

Where did all the money go?

Lois Bowers reported on debt collection in assisted living facilities for McKnight’s Senior Living.  A company and its owner that collect debt on behalf of assisted living communities have been sued by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and accused of collecting debts without a “reasonable basis to assert that … consumers owed those debts.” FCO Holding and its subsidiaries, as well as owner and CEO Michael Sobota, are named defendants.

FCO and Sobota, according to the CFPB, operate “the largest debt-collection company in the multiunit-housing industry,” also collecting debts on behalf of student and military housing in addition to senior living facilities.

The government’s civil complaint alleges that did not maintain “reasonable policies and procedures” to ensure the accuracy of the information it “routinely furnishes” to credit-reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, including the handling of consumer disputes, as required by law.

“FCO has failed to conduct reasonable investigations of certain consumer disputes and has failed to cease furnishing information that was alleged to have been the result of identity theft before it made any determination of whether the information was accurate,” the complaint states. “In addition, FCO and Sobota have collected debt without a reasonable basis to assert it was owed.”

The lawsuit maintains that FCO violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Regulation V and the Consumer Financial Protection Act as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The bureau is seeking an injunction as well as damages, redress, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and the imposition of a civil money penalty.

FCO Holding and its subsidiaries — Fair Collections & Outsourcing, Fair Collections & Outsourcing of New England and FCO Worldwide — operate collectively under the name Fair Collections & Outsourcing and FCO, according to the CFPB.

Falo Kane, a nursing assistant at various nursing homes in Clearwater, Florida has been accused and arrested for sexually assaulting at least four elderly women.  Kane faces four counts of sexual battery, according to a Clearwater Police Department news release.

Police said two of Kane’s alleged victims used wheelchairs, and one was 80 years old. Another woman suffered a stroke. Kane allegedly abused two of the victims while changing their adult diapers, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Police began investigating after one of the facilities reported the sex assault of a patient.

Kane is believed to have worked at four facilities in Clearwater when the assaults took place — two in 2016 and two in 2019. It’s possible he worked at others, and police asked anyone with information about additional crimes to come forward.

Police said Kane admitted during questioning Monday, Sept. 16 that he had sexually abused the women, and wrote one apology letter to all four women, the paper reports.

 

One of the situations I can never get used to seeing as a nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys is when a caregiver assaults a vulnerable adult in a nursing home.  I know it is typically caused by burn-out from overworked and underappreciated employees but I still can’t believe it can happen as often as it does.  It happened again in Augusta.

According to an incident report, deputies were called for a suspicious situation to the Golden Living Center nursing home.  Deputies discovered that an employee witnessed Jatoria Audrey Johnson grab a male patient, 69, by the genitals and twist them.  Ouch.

The Richmond County C.A.V.E. Task Force arrested Johnson. She is charged with two felony counts of exploitation of an elder or disabled adult.  The Task Force believes Johnson also punched and hit a blind patient against a dresser in that same room.

The Johnson case is just one of 118 cases investigated by C.A.V.E. in September

“Some of the types of abuse that we run into are physical, emotional, neglect, abandonment, sexual and financial,” Shawn Rhodes, the deputy director for C.A.V.E., said. “I know it’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s just terrible.”

“In this instance, there’s a healthcare facility regulation group that inspects each facilities and receives complaints,” Rhodes said.

 

The Buffalo News reported a horrific story of sexual assault and a cover-up that many nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers like myself see far too often.  After finding a female resident being sexually assaulted by another resident, the caregivers failed to call police for more than six hours and destroyed evidence, the state Health Department has determined.

A certified nursing assistant heard the victim in her room saying, “No, no,” at around 4:30 a.m. May 29 and found a 73-year-old male resident on top of the woman in her bed, with his pants around his ankles, according to a Gowanda Police Department report. The woman’s gown was over her head, and her underwear was partially off.  Videotape footage shows the assailant was alone in her room for over 37 minutes.

The nursing home was the Gowanda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and the family asserts that its negligence allowed the assault to occur and failed to prevent it.  The staff did not secure the woman’s underwear, clothing or sheets as evidence, according to the agency.

The female resident has “severe cognitive impairment,” and is unable to get out of bed without the help of a mechanical lift.

A staff member wrote in a statement to police that the man “knew what he was doing, but I don’t think he knew with who. He seemed confused.”

When a staff member checked on the woman around 8 a.m.,  the woman was reaching toward her pelvic area while saying, “Ugh, ugh, get it off!”

Shortly before 10 a.m., a physician assistant examined the woman and determined that she “was the victim of sexual assault and sent to the hospital for a sexual assault assessment,” according to the Health Department report.

The nursing home called an ambulance at around 10:11 a.m., according to a police report, and then called police 25 minutes later, according to the report.

 

Every year, hundreds of news reports surface about nursing home staff physically or sexually assaulting patients. Physical and cognitive vulnerabilities may make it difficult for residents to report abuse or to have their reports taken seriously.  Web-enabled digital cameras offer a fantastic solution.  as a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer, I wish we had video in every case.

Evidence suggests that even more people are putting cameras in a relative’s room to detect and deter abuse.  Seven states have passed laws expressly allowing families to monitor the care of aging relatives this way. Many states like South Carolina have no laws prohibiting the use of cameras.

While state laws regulating camera use require consent from the patient or a family member. Many residents are unlikely to be consulted about camera installation, because they lack, or are perceived to lack, capacity for consent. In these cases, children often act as parents’ legal proxy to give consent on their behalf.

Since nursing home rooms are usually shared, the consent and privacy of roommates presents an ethical problem, too. Inevitably, roommates’ conversations will be recorded, and they will be filmed when passing through a camera’s field of vision. All of the states that allow in-room cameras require that roommates or their legal representative be informed of surveillance and allowed to require that the camera be pointed away from their bed.

Webcams are a consumer response to the United States’ inadequate long-term care system. Long-term care in the United States is poorly funded, primarily by Medicaid. Medicare covers acute but not ongoing services and supports.

As a result, the nursing home staff trusted to do this demanding and fraught work receive low pay and no benefits. Turnover is particularly high among caregivers who provide the most hands-on, intimate care in American nursing homes.  With better pay and working conditions, nursing homes could attract more direct-care staff who would stay in their jobs longer and be more invested in their workplace. Nursing assistants could get to know residents, and keep a better eye on them. Enhanced training on recognizing and reporting abuse would also promote accountability.

 

An assisted living facility worker in Florida is accused of falling asleep in a minivan, as the disabled man he was caring for died in the hot vehicle.  Joshua D. Russell was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a disabled adult in connection with the May 9 incident.

Russell, who was working at Crossroads of Pinellas, had taken John LaPointe to a doctor’s appointment.  Russell then stopped by his home after the appointment and took kratom, WTSP reported. He told deputies he began to feel ill and parked the assisted living facility’s Toyota Sienna minivan to take a nap, the television station reported.

Russell said he later woke up in a sweat from the minivan’s heat and noticed LaPointe was not breathing. Russell attempted CPR but could not revive LaPointe. Investigators said LaPointe died of heatstroke. The medical examiner’s office ruled LaPointe died of hyperthermia. Investigators estimated the temperature inside the minivan reached 125 degrees, the newspaper reported.

Russell went back into his home to retrieve a gun and called his mother, who worked at the assisted living facility, telling her he was going to kill himself, the Times reported.

 

 

O’Nesha Cherdele Cummings was arrested for abandoning her residents.  Cummings is a CNA at an assisted living facility who left the people under her care alone while she went to a club, and one of those people left along had to be taken to a hospital, St. Petersburg police said.

According to an affidavit, Cummings was the only person working and caring for the residents at the time at the facility, which was not named by police.

She left the residents alone for more than an hour. While she was gone, one of the residents had severe diarrhea and could not care for herself. Her screams woke up her roommate, who called police.

Cummings finally returned to the facility after a supervisor told her police and EMS were there. When she was interviewed, police said she told them she knew what she did was wrong.

She was charged with two counts of abuse or neglect of an aged or disabled person.

 

LeadingAge reported that the GAO was asked to review federal oversight of elder abuse reporting, investigation, and law enforcement notification in both nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Both types of facilities often fail to report neglect and abuse.

The report highlighted specific federal requirements for reporting, investigating, and notifying law enforcement of elder abuse for nursing homes and state survey agencies.  For assisted living facilities, the report noted that there are no similar federal requirements as those are regulated by the states.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), however, requires state Medicaid agencies to develop policies to ensure reporting and investigations of elder abuse in assisted living facilities.

In commenting on the report, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reiterated its commitment to resident safety and acknowledged the distinct, and not directly comparable, oversight frameworks for nursing home and assisted living facilities.  This is a must read for all nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys.

 

 

Authorities are currently investigating how a nursing home resident, Dolores Gomez, at Westfield Center Nursing Care facility got severe bruises and injuries to her face. Her son, Benny Gomez, states she was assaulted at the facility. Gomez says she suffered double fractures to her face and a broken nose. She also needed stitches.

Benny Gomez posted photos of his mother’s injuries to Facebook, a post that has been shared over 9,000 times. The photos show his elderly mother’s face covered in bruises.

(Photos courtesy: Benny Gomez)

Gomez claims this wasn’t the first time his elderly mother ended up with injuries. He tells Fox 35 his mother said that some of the nursing home employees had hit her before. Gomez told the media earlier in the week that his mother “was assaulted numerous times. She tells me that they were rough with her. They hit her over the head with a hairbrush multiple times.”

“My mom had black eyes and bruises and was struck over the top of her head with her hair brush. I had filed many complaints previously.”

The nursing home claims the woman fell.  On her face?

Genesis, one of the largest providers of long-term care in the nation, owns the Westfield Center. It also owns the Waterview Center in Cedar Grove, where a certified nursing assistant has been charged with reckless manslaughter for failing to seek emergency care for a patient who later died from a fall.