Kentucky Governor Orders a Review of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Cases

Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Washington D.C. have been following the recent news from state of Kentucky, that Governor Beshear has asked for an investigation on how Kentucky is handling nursing home neglect and abuse reports, after a recent investigation by the Lexington Herald-Leader found serious problems with the system, as reported in our previous blog.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, from 2007 to 2010, 107 citations were issued by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that endangered the health and safety of nursing home residents. The newspaper discovered that only seven out of the over 100 cases of nursing home abuse or deaths were ever prosecuted criminally.

Although the state reportedly hands serious violations of nursing home laws and regulations to the attorney general’s office, the attorney general can only prosecute if the local prosecutors grant the attorney general permission. And the local prosecutors claim that they are rarely made aware of such cases. Also, police and coroners are reportedly rarely alerted of nursing home deaths or serious injuries in nursing homes.

The Herald-Leader reported that of the 107 citations that were investigated, there were eighteen deaths, thirty occurrences of hospitalization, 5 incidents involving residents with bones broken, and two instances of amputation that reportedly were a result of nursing home state law and regulation violations. The citations also claimed that three residents experienced nursing home injuries after staff members failed to provide proper health care.

Beshear reportedly asked Janie Miller, Kentucky’s cabinet Secretary, to look into how the state agencies are coordinating and communicating with prosecutors and law enforcement officials in reviewing the nursing home reports, and to also look into the time lapse between sending serious citations to Kentucky law enforcement officers or to the attorney general.

Governor Behsear’s decision reportedly came from the urging of Bernie Bonderheide, who started the Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, for a task force to examine the reporting lapses from the Herald-Leader investigation. Janie Miller, who runs the cabinet in charge of nursing homes investigations, was asked to instigate a new review of the Kentucky homes by September 1, 2010, involving Vonderheide’s nursing home reform group, Jack Conway, the Attorney General for Kentucky, the U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Eastern Districts, law enforcement agencies, local prosecutors, advocacy groups and industry groups.

Vonderheide reportedly called the decision a major victory for residents of nursing homes and long-term health care facilities—the first serious action taken on behalf of the individuals by the government of Kentucky in twenty to thirty years.

Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC represent victims nursing home abuse and negligence in the state of Maryland and Washington D.C. Contact our attorneys today at 1-800-654-1949 for a free consultation.

Ky. to Review Handling of Nursing Home Abuse Cases, The Herald-Dispatch/The Associated Press, July 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform

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