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Nursing Home Abuse – An Unacceptable Issue

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse has become a huge issue amongst facilities in the United States, particularly sexual abuse. In fact, in 2017, the federal government cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for failing to prevent cases of sexual abuse. Individuals recognize that this is an unacceptable issue, and now they want to see changes in facilities standards and how CMS rates them. “Things need to change, both for the standards at care facilities and for how CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) rates them”, states Patricia Blank who’s mother was a victim of nursing home abuse at a facility that received the highest possible ranking from CMS.

On Tuesday, March 4th, CMS announced they will be making updates next month to online tools for consumers which allow them to research nursing home quality. Both the Nursing Home Compare Database, which allows users to compare nursing homes, and the Five-Star Quality Rating system, which rates nursing homes based on inspections, staffing, and quality measures will be updated.

CMS also issued new guidance on Tuesday which, according to Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “clarifies what information is needed to identify immediate jeopardy cases across all healthcare provider types, which we believe will result in quickly identifying and ultimately preventing these situations.” At Wednesday’s hearing, lawmakers questioned Dr. Goodrich about what has been done and what more could be done to ensure quality amongst facilities. After discussing the expectations they have for nursing facilities,  New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez responded by stating, “I think there’s a gulf between the expectations and the reality in several of these instances and we look forward to working with you to bridge the gulf.”

The American Health Care Association, which represents nursing centers, assisting living communities, and centers for individuals with disabilities, recognizes the need to fix the quality of care in these facilities. Dr. David Gifford, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at the association, recognizes the need to improve the quality of care in these facilities, stating “we can — and must — do more.” He continues by stating, “We should expand federal programs that attract health care workers to the nursing home profession. We should strengthen federal regulations around reporting and sharing of information about employees who have engaged in abuse through the creation of a national background check registry. And we should make resident and family satisfaction of nursing homes publicly available.”

Someone who understands first-hand the necessity of improving the care in nursing homes, Maya Fischer, whose mother, Sonja Fischer, was a victim of sexual assault while living in a nursing home. Unfortunately, the predator, George Kpingbah, had been suspended three times prior due to accusations of sexual assault. After each incident, Kpingbah was able to keep his job. Fischer is now fighting to increase regulations on the quality of care in nursing homes.

Unfortunately, nursing abuse often goes unnoticed due to the victim’s inability to report the abuse, leaving vulnerable nursing home residents to suffer devastating abuse. Despite this, those who suffer from abuse in nursing homes deserve to gain the proper compensation for their physical and mental suffering. If you or a loved one has experienced abuse at the hands of a nursing provider, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys of Spiros Law, P.C. at (815) 929-9292, today.