Nursing homes are a necessity of life for many families. Whether an older person doesn’t have any family members who can care for them, their family are too busy, don’t possess the requisite skills, or don’t have the room; hundreds of thousands of people are admitted to nursing homes each year. While most nursing homes hire caring, diligent staff members to care for residents, that is unfortunately not always the case.
When a family sets out to select a nursing home, there is only so much they can do in terms of due diligence. So much of what goes on in a nursing home is behind closed doors. Perhaps it’s not surprising that many nursing homes take affirmative efforts to hide instances of abuse and neglect. However, what’s more concerning is a recent report from the New York Times indicating that the federal government knew about instances of physical and sexual abuse and failed to inform the public.
Do nursing homes have a legal obligation to report abuse and neglect?
Yes, generally, nursing homes are under a legal duty to report abuse and neglect. For example, if one resident physically assaults another requiring the victim to be hospitalized, the nursing home must file a report with the state. One would assume that once a nursing home let federal authorities know of an incident, the government would then make that information public. Indeed, this is exactly the type of information families need when deciding on a nursing home.
The nursing homes are hardly innocent beneficiaries in this process. According to the report, after state officials found the facilities in violation, the result was overturned through a “secretive” federal appeals process. Meanwhile, the rankings of these facilities continued to improve over time, misleading residents and their families about the safety of the homes.
As the article notes, there is every incentive for nursing homes to pursue the secret appeals process. If they succeed in getting a violation reversed, they are off the hook. And even if they don’t, the process eats up so much time that the news becomes stale. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid responded to a response, indicating that it knows about the problem and is working to correct it. However, in the meantime, families must be extra vigilant when looking into nursing home facilities for their loved ones.
Is Your Loved One at Risk in a Maryland Nursing Home?
If you have reason to believe that a loved one is experienced abuse or neglect in a Maryland nursing home, reach out to Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, to schedule a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers represent families throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. We proudly stand up for the rights of residents and their families, seeking to hold negligent and abusive nursing homes accountable for the harm they cause to residents. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC at all at 800-654-1949 today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with the compensation your family deserves.