Recent Medicare Report Points to Neglect and Abuse in U.S. Nursing Homes

Last week, news coverage in the Tallahassee CBS News affiliate showed “an estimated 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes who were transported to hospital emergency rooms in 2016 and treated for a variety of high-risk conditions had been potentially abused or neglected, a report released by the federal government shows.

The report also shows that nursing homes failed to report many of the incidents to state health care agencies as required by federal law.”

Read the full article here.

That information is appalling. First, that there were so many potential abuse cases. And secondly, that so many cases went unreported.

florida nursing home budget cutsFederal auditors estimate that of the 37,607 high-risk claims in the report, 7,831 were the result of potential abuse or neglect. *High-risk medicare claims would have included nursing home residents with deep cuts and lacerations, bone fractures, poisoning and gangrene.

While the report does not say whether these incidents occurred here in Florida, they were a reflection of reports taken from eight different states. Florida has a high percentage of older adults per capita, with tens of thousand living in nursing homes where around the clock care is provided. Per the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Florida has 686 licensed nursing homes that include 83,910 beds.

The Office of the Inspector General (from which the CBS New information was gathered) “determined that an estimated one in five high-risk hospital ER Medicare claims for treatment provided in calendar year 2016 were the result of potential abuse or neglect, including injury of unknown source, of beneficiaries residing in a SNF (skilled nursing facility).”

Read an overview of the Office of the Inspector General report here.

Read the full report from the Office of the Inspector General here.

What should you look for if you have a loved one living in a Florida nursing home and suspect neglect or mistreatment?

  • Unexplained bruises or injuries
  • Untreated bed sores
  • Your loved one seems distant or nervous
  • The staff doesn’t allow you to visit with your loved one alone
  • Your loved one denies visitors or wants to be left alone
  • Your loved one is heavily sedated or seems out of it
  • Unsanitary conditions

It’s truly unfortunate, but neglect and abuse of Florida’s elderly happens every day and can be physical, emotional or financial – or a combination of them all. Our firm finds the abuse and harm of older people to be appalling and – like you – want to do everything we can to address the existing problem and hold people accountable for their actions.

Do you have questions? If so, please call the law offices of Baron, Herskowitz, and Cohen today.

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