When nursing homes get an inspection citation, they can appeal it in what is called in an informal dispute resolution process, a process which varies from state to state. According to the New York Times research, some states use a panel of former nursing home executives, and some states do not permit patients or family members to attend hearings.
If the nursing home loses its appeal in the informal dispute resolution, it can appeal the decision to special federal court within executive branch, another process that operates in total secrecy.The New York Times found that some of the most egregious, verified abuses found by inspectors, simply disappear in the secretive process.
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It’s worse when you consider that these appeals are for the rare times that inspectors report severe citations. State surveys and inspectors in many states have developed a reputation for being too easy on poorly performing nursing homes by not reporting infractions and trusting facilities to provide their own data. For example, the New York Times found that “At 40 other five-star homes, inspectors determined that sexual abuse did not constitute actual harm or put residents in immediate jeopardy.” In another example, the Office of the Inspector General found that “Florida did not ensure that nursing facilities always reported potential abuse or neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries transferred from nursing facilities to hospital emergency departments.” There are numerous 5-star nursing homes with verified horrific offenses, some with violations as serious as rape.
No one is arguing that nursing homes should be denied a process to challenge erroneous findings from inspections, but the current inspection and appeal mechanism seems to be more focused on protecting dangerous nursing homes from the bad publicity of endangering vulnerable residents and the impact that could have on their businesses.
“If a nursing home goes out of business because consumers find out the facility has a bad track record, that’s a good thing in my book,” said Brian Brown, a founding partner at Brown & Barron. “Our job as a society is to protect the sick and elderly, not to protect the profits of the bad business owner who endangers the lives of the most vulnerable members of society, at taxpayer expense.”
At Brown & Barron, we put a special focus on nursing home law, and we treat you like family. Our lawyers understand the complex set of rules that nursing homes must follow to ensure the well being of their residents. The sad truth is that nursing homes often break these rules, resulting in preventable injuries and deaths. We have the experience and methods to uncover the truth.
When Brown & Barron gets involved, you get the answers and the justice your family deserves.
Call us today at (410) 547-0202 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.
Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review.