Skilled Nursing Facility Employees Can Report Abuse and Neglect
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed potential abuse and neglect claims of more than 34,820 Medicare beneficiaries who were residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 2016 and sent to the emergency room. The OIG released its findings in June of 2019 concluding that about one in five potential cases of abuse of elders or neglect were never reported to state inspection agencies, even though it’s a federal requirement for them to do so.
Here is a closer look at what the OIG report had to say:
- SNFs failed to report many of these incidents to Survey Agencies such as the local department of health or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) per applicable Federal requirements.
- Several survey agencies also failed to report findings of substantiated abuse to local law enforcement.
- Incidents of potential abuse or neglect resulted in a variety of resident injuries and were categorized as head injuries, bodily injuries, medical issues, and safety issues.
- Federal investigators determined that health workers routinely don’t report possible incidents of abuse or neglect to local law enforcement and other agencies to be tracked and recorded, in accordance with federal requirements.
Although Medicare surveyors have the job of citing non-compliance and investigating incidences of emotional, physical, sexual abuse or potential neglect, the agency also depends on nursing home administrators, family members, and care staff to help prevent and report them.
Whistleblowers Are Crucial to Exposing Abuse and Neglect of Residents
More than 84 million people will be considered to be older Americans by 2050 and face the very real threat of elder abuse and neglect. Many of these individuals will become dependent on nursing homes and community care settings and once targeted, afraid to report their abuse. Millions more will not be able to communicate or recognize abuse or neglect due to deteriorating health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
At Levin & Perconti, we know there are nursing home employees who can help though. These are the care workers who truly share compassion for the people they serve and continue to do their job, even amidst the worst of circumstances. Our attorneys also know that valuable, hard-working employees can easily become conflicted and scared when confronted with allegations or evidence of abuse and neglect. But too many of these workers are not to blame for being maxed to their limits, in understaffed facilities that do not allow enough time to complete daily tasks for all residents and go without the supplies, resources, support, and tools they need to do their jobs the right way.
Lawyers in Illinois Representing Employee Rights in Nursing Homes
Our lawyers are experts in nursing home lawsuits and have taken thousands of depositions of nursing home employees and owners. We are here to help protect the rights of all care workers who bravely choose to speak up against resident abuse and neglect.
If you are one of these employees, ask for help and call our nursing home whistleblower hotline at 312-332-2872. Together we can work to protect the safety and well-being of residents at the facility and your employment.
Also read: Nursing Home Employee Rights