Nursing Home Abuse Leads to Fines, Lawsuits in Michigan

Allegations of neglect and abuse in three different Michigan nursing homes have led to fines, firings, and lawsuits. Investigations uncovered horrific conditions in all three, including patient abuse, lack of proper hygiene and sanitation, and possible whistle-blower retaliation. The Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service (MPAS) reviewed nursing homes in sixteen counties and made recommendations to improve patient safety and quality of care. A different investigation by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gave at least one nursing home its lowest possible ranking, jeopardizing its eligibility for federal funding.

The MPAS reported a case at the Whitehall Healthcare Center of Ann Arbor, located in Pittsfield Township, in which a woman’s catheter was found to contain maggots. The woman survived, but had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment. Three certified nursing aides formerly employed by Whitehall filed suit against Whitehall’s owner, LaVie Management Services of Tampa, Florida, claiming that they were fired in retaliation for reporting the abuse and neglect and neglect of several patients. One alleges retaliation after reporting a patient’s fall to state authorities, and the other two were allegedly fired for discussing the maggot incident with investigators. Their suit further alleges that the nursing home suspended several employees, including two of the plaintiffs, in order to prevent them from cooperating with the investigation of the maggot incident.

State authorities ultimately found that Whitehall failed to provide adequate supervision to two residents in wheelchairs, which resulted in injuries to both of them; failed to provide adequate catheter care to the resident described above; and failed to provide several other necessary services. The state now says that all the problems noted in their reported have been remedied. The former employees’ lawsuit is still pending.

In another case, this one at Cambridge South Nursing Home in Beverly Hills, outside of Detroit. A female resident was found to have maggots in her trachea. She was also hospitalized and survived. After an investigation by the MPAS, the Department of Labor and Regulatory Affairs fined the nursing home. The MPAS cited the two examples of maggot infestations to recommend a prohibition on hiring people with a verified history of complaints involving neglect or abuse, as well as a law requiring staff to report cases of abuse and neglect.

A CMS investigation of Borgess Gardens nursing home in Kalamazoo uncovered evidence of patient abuse, including a case in which nursing staff caused bruising and muscle and ligament injuries while trying to force a patient’s legs apart in order to catheterize the patient. The CMS inspection gave the nursing home a ranking of “4,” the lowest ranking on its scale of quality of care. It has added the nursing home to its Special Focus Facilities list, meaning it risks losing Medicare and Medicaid funding if it does not improve conditions.

Maryland’s Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), through its Long-Term Care Unit, performs a role similar to that of the MPAS in Michigan. The OHCQ receives reports of alleged neglect and abuse and conducts investigations. It may assist with both criminal and civil legal matters brought as a result of alleged abuse and neglect.

The Maryland nursing home abuse lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen help obtain compensation for people injured due to abuse or neglect by nursing home staff. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 for a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Aide Pleads Guilty to Seven Counts of Abuse After Hidden Camera Catches Her, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2011
Two Nursing Home Workers Lose Licenses After Alleged Beating of Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 7, 2011
Indictments Issued in Two Separate Maryland Nursing Home Assault Cases, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, October 4, 2011

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