A series of investigative reports by the Center for Public Integrity in 2014 began public awareness that nursing homes were over-reporting the amount of medical staff working in their nursing homes. The Center for Public Integrity’s investigation determined that greater than 80% of nursing homes reported staffing levels that were higher than what they really were. The investigation also found that 25% of nursing homes nationwide reported staffing levels that were at least two times as high as their actual levels.
In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated nursing homes begin transitioning from self-reporting their own staffing amounts to using payroll-based systems to report staffing.
Nursing homes are required by state and federal regulations to meet certain minimum levels of staffing to meet the needs of their patients. Attorney Rich Hitz has been an advocate for nursing home residents since 2004. “Lawyers who have spent their careers representing nursing home residents have long been concerned a major factor in almost every nursing home neglect injury can be traced back to low staffing levels,” said Hitz.
The public can check the staffing levels of a local nursing home by using the CMS Five-Star Quality Rating System website. This website is designed to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily when searching for a local nursing home.
The web site features a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average. Look for the column on the website titled “Staffing” to help you find a nursing home with a high star rating for staffing. More staffing means better care.
If you or a family member has been injured in a nursing home contact your best Nursing Home Attorney at Hitz Law to schedule a free accident evaluation.
Nursing home eviction, commonly referred to as involuntary discharge, has increased in recent years. There is a commonly held belief by lawyers who work every day with families of nursing home residents that the tightening Medicaid payments incentivize nursing homes to “dump” nursing home residents soon after their 100 days of Medicare rehabilitation payments end.
Medicare reimburses nursing homes at a higher rate than Medicaid, making brand new nursing home residents just transferred from a hospital with a fresh 100 days of Medicare reimbursement more attractive prospects than long-term residents that have been in a nursing home longer than 100 days but don’t have the ability to privately pay their $6,000 to $10,000 per month bill.
A recent national public radio syndicated show highlighted the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) defense of a California case of illegal nursing home eviction.
Nebraska law states nursing home residents have the right to “be free from arbitrary transfer or discharge.” Nebraska Administrative Code 175 NAC §12-006.05(5)
The entire regulation states:
(5) The resident must be informed at the time of admission that he or she may be transferred or discharged only upon the following terms:
“A health care facility or health care service shall not discriminate or retaliate against a person residing in, served by, or employed at the facility or service who has initiated or participated in any proceeding authorized by the Health Care Facility Licensure Act or who has presented a complaint or provided information to the administrator of the facility or service, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Health and Human Services Finance and Support, or the Department of Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure. Such person may maintain an action for any type of relief, including injunctive and declaratory relief, permitted by law.”
Stop Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Nursing home residents and their families cannot allow neglect or abuse to continue. All instances of neglect or abuse must be immediately reported to the correct Nebraska authorities. Steps must be taken to protect all residents from further harm. If your loved one has been harmed because of neglect or abuse in a nursing home or has been improperly evicted, contact trial lawyer Rich Hitz to learn your options.