Federal Government Attempts to Combat Underreporting of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Maryland and Nationwide

As the average lifespan in America continues to increase, more and more families will need to rely on Maryland nursing homes to provide care for their aging loved ones. Indeed, nursing homes offer a necessary service; however, reports have recently come to light that nursing home abuse and neglect are rampant. Perhaps more alarming are the results of a recent government study indicating that of all the cases of nursing home abuse requiring hospitalization, 28% went unreported until the resident arrived at the hospital.

Instances of nursing home abuse and neglect are underreported for several reasons. One reason is that many residents are embarrassed to report what happened to them, or fear that they will be seen as troublesome by family members. Another reason is that the residents who are victims of abuse or neglect are often not in a condition to articulate what they are experiencing, and in some cases, residents have no one to report the abuse or neglect to.

According to a recent industry news source, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed a new regulation that would impose significant monetary fines upon employees of skilled nursing facilities who fail to report abuse, neglect, or other crimes within a certain period. Not only would the new regulation require an employee to report abuse or neglect that was witnessed, but it would also require an employee to report a “reasonable suspicion” that abuse or neglect was occurring. The idea behind the newly proposed regulation would be to encourage employees in these facilities to speak up on behalf of the residents who are the victims of abuse or neglect.

The National Center for Assisted Living opposes the new regulation, arguing that it will have a “chilling effect” on staffing. A spokesperson for the Center explained that the new rule would make it more challenging to hire and retain quality staff members based on the perceived fear that employees could be fined for innocently neglecting to report abuse or neglect. Instead, the spokesperson explained, quality applicants would go to work in a hospital or other setting where the threat of a monetary fine does not exist.

The spokesperson failed to address why reporting perceived abuse or neglect would be burdensome. On the contrary, it would seem that weeding out would be in the best interest of both the nursing home as well as other well-meaning employees.

Has Your Loved One Suffered in a Maryland Nursing Home?

If you believe that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a Maryland nursing home, contact the dedicated Maryland nursing home abuse attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have a reputation for aggressively defending the rights of Maryland injury victims, including the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We have a dedicated team of Maryland nursing home attorneys to assist in every aspect of your case. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Rejects Nursing Home’s Demand for Arbitration in Recent Wrongful Death Case, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 26, 2018.

Maryland Announces $2.2 Million Settlement with Nursing Homes for Involuntarily Discharging Patients, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 7, 2018.

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