Nursing Homes to Pay $1.25 Million for Providing Substandard Care

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The lack of care caused residents to suffer from multiple forms of physical, mental and emotional harm.

A Georgia-based nonprofit, among other companies, have agreed to pay $1.25 million as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations of making false Medicare and Medicaid claims for providing shoddy care at a Lumberton nursing home. The substandard care at the facility caused residents to suffer pressure ulcers, falls, dehydration and malnutrition among other physical,
mental and emotional harm, according to officials. When nursing homes do not fulfill their duty of care it can result in serious injury and subsequent nursing home abuse lawsuits.

Shortchanging Residents

According an article, Hyperion Foundation, a nonprofit entity in Georgia, the nursing home and administrators have agreed to pay the settlement for alleged substandard care to residents at Oxford Health and Rehabilitation in Lumberton. The nursing home was operated from late 2005 through mid-2012 by AltaCare under a contract with Hyperion. Government officials allege that from October 2005 to May 2012, Hyperion made claims to Medicare and Medicaid for providing worthless services to nursing home residents.

Officials say the company failed to provide proper nutrition to residents, did not administer medications prescribed to them, over-medicated residents, did not properly staff their facility and diverted Medicare and Medicaid funds to other entities leaving the facility unable to pay for basic operational needs like food, heat, air-conditioning and cleaning.

Symptoms of Nursing Home Neglect

It is not at all uncommon for nursing and assisted living facilities to understaff their facilities or hire unskilled labor to care for vulnerable residents. This is often why we see unclean facilities, residents who are not changed or cleaned and residents who donít even get basic necessities. While these situations are heartbreaking, it is all the more reason why we should hold nursing homes and assisted living facilities to the highest standards.

Here are some of the symptoms of nursing home neglect to watch out for:

- Sudden weight loss
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Environmental hazards such as poor lighting, slippery floors or unsafe furniture in the patientís room
- Lack of cleanliness and hygiene

There is valid research, which shows that nursing home patients who are visited often by family, friends, and other loved ones are less likely to experience nursing home neglect or abuse. This is because when you visit with the resident, there is more of an opportunity to watch for signs of nursing home abuse, neglect, emotional distress or changes in the patientís physical and emotional well being. When a nursing home is understaffed, effective communication between family members and nursing home administrators can play a crucial role in resident care.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul díOliveira
Attorney Paul díOliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 29 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 15 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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