The U.S. Nursing Home rating system was introduced twelve years ago, providing for ratings from one to five stars. It was meant to provide a way for people to evaluate and compare nursing homes for their loved ones. However, an investigation by the New York Times recently revealed that the rating system is not an accurate reflection of the quality of care given at a nursing home. The investigation found that many nursing homes have manipulated the system to improve their ratings and hide problems, raising serious concerns for Maryland nursing home residents.
The rating system is based on a combination of self-reported information and on-site inspections. The investigation found that the information submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (C.M.S.) is often wrong, making facilities appear cleaner and safer, and that the government rarely audits the data provided through self-reporting. Accidents and health issues are often unreported, it also found. Abuse and neglect were discovered through inspections at five-star facilities, but the inspectors rarely found the infractions serious enough to lower the ratings. A previously conducted study from the University of Chicago found that nursing homes did not report about 40 percent of residents who were hospitalized after serious falls.
It also found that the nursing homes were not prepared for the pandemic in part because the rating system allowed them to ignore staffing requirements and infection-control deficiencies. Over 13,000 nursing home residents have died due to COVID-19. The Times found that residents at five-star facilities were about as likely to die due to COVID as residents at one-star facilities. At some nursing homes with five-star ratings, “residents developed bed sores so severe that their bones were exposed.” The son of a resident at a five-star facility on Long Island who died from COVID-19 in the spring believed that the facility was short-staffed or overcrowded because before contracting COVID-19, his mother was moved from a private room into one with other residents.
If a resident of a nursing home becomes one of the many who suffers from abuse or neglect, the resident or his or her family may be able to file a claim against the facility. Maryland nursing home residents have the right to be cared for and the right to be free from abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal, and mental abuse. Abused or neglected Maryland nursing home residents may be able to recover financial compensation for their injuries, including pain and suffering.
Contact a Maryland Nursing Home Attorney
If someone believes that their loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, it is important to speak with a Maryland nursing home attorney as soon as possible. Other residents may be at risk. The law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen has over 20 years of experience helping people in the Baltimore area and throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. seek the compensation they deserve. We guide clients through each step of the legal process and strive to reduce the stress on you as much as possible. Call us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at (800) 654-1949 or contact us online.