Leaving an aging loved one, for whatever reasons, in the care of a Maryland nursing home can be a heartbreaking decision. Finding the assisted living facility that is the right fit for the loved one and making sure that insurance helps to cover some of the cost can be almost impossible. When everything lines up and the perfect match is found, knowing that one is leaving his or her family member in the capable and caring hands of a skilled, professional and caring staff can be a huge relief. Sometimes, what appears to be the best situation turns out to be a living nightmare, as a family learns that there has been a nursing home injury that was never reported.
A recent investigation by the US Inspector General found that nearly one-quarter of abuse that occurs in nursing homes is not properly, if at all, reported. Federal law requires that any serious case of abuse that happens to a patient while under the care of a nursing facility be reported to police immediately. Should someone working or a family member suspect abuse, they are required to notify local law enforcement within two hours. But without the backing from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, enforcing the penalties has never happened.
The best way investigators have found to track the cases of under-reported abuse is with cross-referencing. By checking Medicare claims from any nursing home residents against the claims that are presented upon arrival at the emergency room, investigators can determine the cause for the visit. If the diagnosis noted by the attending emergency room physician indicates suspicion for abuse and authorities were not notified, fines and further action could be taken.
Abuse within the medical system is not unheard of, but the alarming issue is how much abuse is not reported. When a loved is suspected to be the victim of a nursing home injury or abuse, especially one that has not been reported, family members have the option to seek guidance from a Maryland attorney. Understanding the actions to be taken to secure the health, safety and well-being of the victim is first and foremost. Filing a personal injury or medical malpractice claim in a civil court is an option that could help to cover any medical and/or final costs incurred as a direct result of the injury.
Source: www.npr.com, “Serious Nursing Home Abuse Often Not Reported To Police, Federal Investigators Find : NPR“, Ina Jaffe, Aug. 28, 2017