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Slammed with a New Law and Bigger Fines, Will Illinois’ Nursing Homes Finally Start Providing Enough Care for Residents? In June 2019, Illinois lawmakers, sparked by a bill sponsored by state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, passed legislation in support of increasing fines and penalties for nursing homes who are not meeting minimum standards for staffing and also provided $240 million to fill a $649 million projected funding gap between the state and federal government. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will receive $70 million of the newly budgeted state dollars to build-up nurse staffing. The bill also demands…
New Study Shows Majority of Nation’s Nursing Homes Fail to Meet RN Staffing Requirements Harvard and Vanderbilt medical schools recently put researchers to the task of examining payroll records from over 15,000 U.S. nursing homes, revealing the staggering truth about registered nurse (RN) staffing. Three-fourths of the nation’s nursing homes never meet federal staffing expectations for registered nurse staffing, and RNs are missing from such facilities on the weekends. Health Affairs published the study in its July issue in which co-author David Grabowski, a professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard, said that the conclusions based on…
2000 Illinois Homes in University Park Without Safe Drinking Water Due to dangerous lead levels found in tap water, could the Illinois community of University Park become the next Flint, Michigan or Newark, New Jersey? It’s been nearly a month since University Park’s mayor declared a state of emergency sparked by a “do not consume water” advisory made by Aqua Illinois. Aqua Illinois is the private company that supplies water to University Park and other suburbs in Cook, Kane, Kankakee, Lake and Will counties. Aqua officials issued the order after detecting extremely elevated lead levels in the drinking water…
Children and Infants Neglected at Immigrant Detention Centers  A new report described the humanitarian crisis involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and more than 250 children, including infants living in “squalor and neglect” due to a lack of sanitation, food, and water at a facility in Texas. Within the report were interviews between lawyers, physicians, psychologists, and caseworkers and the children who shared information about their living conditions. Several media outlets have since covered the story and shared these horrific examples of neglect. The Associated Press: “The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,”…
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…
Nursing Home Blames “Limited Resources” for Multiple Acts of Resident-on-Resident Violence A facility located in Aurora, Colorado and operated by Renew, First Phoenix-Aurora of Wisconsin, and Peregrine Administration of Colorado is again at the center of a violent resident-on-resident legal case involving a 92-year-old resident who was found beaten by another individual who she shared the facility with. According to reports of the lawsuit, the woman with dementia was sitting in her wheelchair, in a hallway, when the assault occurred and now suffers from anxiety and other recurring medical complications. Attorneys are seeking more than $100,000 in damages for the…
Hot Weather Poses Extra Health Risks for Nursing Home Residents Even for residents who are sedentary, spending time outdoors or being active indoors in small amounts can help decrease recovery times and promote independence. However, during the summer months when temperatures sometimes skyrocket into the dangerous digits, elderly who travel outdoors or are without the appropriate indoor cooling areas can become especially at risk and negatively react to high-temperature exposures. Because aging and certain medications can complicate the body’s ability to regulate temperatures, problems such as dehydration, fluid retention, heat stress, and heat stroke, and cardiac-related events leading to…
Leading Lawyers Magazine Features Attorney Margaret P. Battersby Black   Attorney and Partner at Levin & Perconti, Margaret P. Battersby Black recently appeared in Leading Lawyers Magazine where she led the article by sharing her legal philosophy: to ensure her clients’ wrongs are righted. She continued, “I want to make sure they have a voice,” says Battersby Black, “and that those who take advantage of others are held accountable.” Margaret grew up in Michigan, alongside family members who ignited her legal career. She says her father, Michael Battersby, also a personal injury attorney, inspired her as he “was always fighting…
FDA Releases 20 Years of “Hidden” Data Related to Medical Device Injuries and Deaths  Serious medical complications and lifelong injuries, and even death, can result from a risky or wrong medical device. But a March 8, 2019 Kaiser Health News investigative report has led to the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) release of two decades worth of previously hidden data containing millions of malfunctions by medical devices and allowed some manufacturers to keep potential safety issues quiet. Some of the FDA’s public reporting of adverse device outcomes were previously filed as an “alternative summary,” and included more than 5.7…
Levin & Perconti Represents Injured and Evicted World War II Veteran in Neglect Suit [embedded content] World War II veteran Charles Banas flew two heroic bombing missions in the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The 96-year-old family man had plans to attend the 75th anniversary of the historic event with a trip to England and France to participate in commemorating ceremonies this year. Unfortunately, Banas was not present due to the negligence of an Evanston senior living home, Westminster Place. Banas had previously been residing at Westminster for more than 15 years and also received nursing and rehabilitation care…
Children and Infants Neglected at Immigrant Detention Centers  A new report described the humanitarian crisis involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and more than 250 children, including infants living in “squalor and neglect” due to a lack of sanitation, food, and water at a facility in Texas. Within the report were interviews between lawyers, physicians, psychologists, and caseworkers and the children who shared information about their living conditions. Several media outlets have since covered the story and shared these horrific examples of neglect. The Associated Press: “The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,”…
Justice Lags for Dementia Patient Whose Life Savings Were Stolen by Nursing Home Staff Although it has been nearly one year since Levin & Perconti attorneys, Steven Levin and Mike Bonamarte joined Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert to represent Grace Watanabe in a nursing home financial abuse case, criminal charges against the guilty parties have yet to be set. Watanabe is a 98-year-old nursing home resident with dementia who had her life savings, in the tune of $700,000, taken from her by staff while residing at Symphony of Lincoln Park. Golbert, Levin and Bonamarte have been involved in…
Four Chicago Nursing Facilities Caught Up in Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Case Some Chicago nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are paying nearly $10 million back to the U.S. government after being caught lying about the level of care their patients required and for violating the False Claims Act by overbilling federal health insurers. Greed came through by abusing power over resident benefits paid for through Medicare and maximizing those amounts under fraudulent therapies and support. At the center of the fraud sat Quality Therapy and Consultation Inc. of Orland Park, and its owner, Frances Parise. Parise allegedly worked with these four…
National Safety Month: Care Workers Have Right to Safe Workplace  June is celebrated as National Safety Month. As we emphasize the safety of nursing home residents on the blog each week, this also feels like an excellent opportunity to talk about the struggles nursing home employees can face when overexerted, working on demanding schedules with less staff and performing care duties for violent residents who require greater services. These workers can also become too easily hurt by excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, and pulling while caring for residents because of a lack in injury prevention training and poor enforcement of safe…
National Survey Evidence Shows Behavioral Health Services Inadequate in Most U.S. Nursing Homes Researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine started surveying randomly selected skilled nursing facilities in 2017, asking questions about the types of behavioral health issues residents have, available behavioral health services, quality, satisfaction, staffing, staff education, turnover and service barriers. Now complete, the results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on June 5, 2019 and show that mental health disorders can affect up to 90 percent of nursing home residents in as many as a third of the…
CMS Will Publicly Post All Names of Most Concerning Care Facilities The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reacting to the highly publicized release of U.S. Senators Bob Casey’s (D-PA) and Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) report titled, Families’ and Residents’ Rights to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes, by announcing it will soon disclose all of the names of care facility candidates in the agency’s Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. SFFs have a “persistent record of poor care” and were previously not available for the public to review. Some lawmakers and resident advocates even called the list…