State’s Push for Stricter Reporting Requirements in Cases of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

Despite the increase in attention that Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect have received over the past several years, instances of nursing home abuse continue to occur. Indeed, according to a local news report, one state’s lawmakers have begun a push for stricter reporting requirements for allegations of nursing home sexual abuse.

Evidently, lawmakers in Missouri have proposed House Bill 1635, which, if passed, would make reporting sexual abuse to law enforcement mandatory. Currently, state law only requires nursing homes to report the abuse to the state agencies involved in overseeing elder care.

The article discusses the tragic account of a 93-year-old nursing home resident, who was raped by a staff member and then died the following day. After the resident’s death, the nursing home reported the abuse to the state but not to the prosecuting authority. The family, believing the nursing home reported the incident to the police, did not report the abuse either.

By the time the police were notified, the evidence was contaminated, and the alleged perpetrator could not be prosecuted. There is no indication whether a civil claim was filed.

Maryland’s Reporting Requirements

Currently, Maryland law breaks down reporting obligations into three categories:  individuals, nursing home employees, and nursing home management. The law requires that any person who is aware of allegations of nursing home abuse report the allegations to one of three agencies, including law enforcement and the Office of Aging. The specific agency that is notified is left to the discretion of the reporter.

Nursing home employees who “believe that a resident has been abused” must file a report to one of the agencies within three days. A failure to file this report may result in a $1,000 fine. Nursing home management is required to “thoroughly investigate” all allegations of abuse and take action to prevent future occurrences.

While the current state of Maryland law contains some form of reporting requirements, in reality, the law lacks much bite. This explains why experts estimate the actual rate of nursing home abuse and neglect as much higher than that which is reported.

Liability in Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Cases

When nursing home abuse is documented and proven, the nursing home employee as well as the home’s management may be held liable for any injuries caused as a result. A dedicated Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can assist families of those who have endured abuse or neglect in preparing and pursuing their claims.

Are You in Need of an Attorney?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you suspect that they have been subject to abuse or neglect, contact the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we pride ourselves on providing a distinctive form of client-centered representation that has proven successful over the decades we have been practicing. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you and your loved one deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Recent Investigative Report Reveals High Rate of Nursing Home Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published May 21, 2018.

State Attorneys General Call Nursing Home Reforms into Question and Call for a Reevaluation, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published June 7, 2018.

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