New and terrible information has come to light following the Health and Human Services’ 2017 study of nursing homes across 33 states. According to the analysis, there were 134 cases of neglect or sexual or physical abuse resulting in a hospital emergency room visit in 2015 and 2016. The state with the highest number of these visits was Illinois with 17. About one in four of these injured residents went unreported to the police, a grand total of 38 of the victims. About four out of five of these victims were hospitalized due to rape or sexual abuse.
According to a statute that went into effect over five years ago, nursing home employees should’ve reported such federal crimes as physical and sexual assault to the police within two to 24 hours, depending on the injuries of the victim; the 96 reported cases from the study were unclear about whether the reports were timely. Unfortunately, Medicaid—the service for which the statute exists—has failed to protect these victims due to faulty or weak procedures. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are being faulted for their failure to enforce their statue—they face fines of up to $300,000. The agency has no formal report to give in response to these accusations, pending the official completion of the audit.
Unfortunately, the problem goes even further than reporting abuse to police but includes the careless destruction of evidence. In one reported case, an elderly woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by a fellow resident, and the nursing home staff washed the woman and changed her clothes, preventing an accurate test for rape. What’s more, is they failed to make a call within two hours and waited until the next day to contact the woman’s family, who called the police themselves. In the end, despite being cited for failing to notify a doctor, the family, and local law enforcement, state officials classified the incident as minimally harmful or potentially harmful.
These problems are growing more and more troublesome as time passes and more elderly people begin to seek out nursing home care for their final days. Will nearly 1.4 million people residing in these assisted living situations across the country, such numbers are appalling and infuriating. The attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are available to help you or your loved ones if they are facing the negligent actions of a nursing home, resulting in injury. Contact them at (217) 328-2828 for more information.