Unfortunately, all too often we see accounts of nursing home neglect and abuse that result in injury to elderly residents. Common problems include the mistreatment of residents; failure to assist residents who need help with eating, drinking, grooming and personal hygiene; and failure to provide proper care to treat or prevent bedsores.
The enforcement of nursing home regulations is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who depend on state health departments to investigate complaints and report deficiencies to the federal government, who is empowered to impose penalties.
However, because significant fine reduction is a standard practice within state and federal agencies that oversee nursing home regulation, regulations have become ineffective in deterring nursing home misconduct. In fact, fines imposed on offending nursing homes are reduced so routinely that they have become widely considered a cost of doing business rather than an incentive to provide quality care.
If nursing homes decide to appeal a deficiency report instead of ‘making a deal’, the long, drawn-out court process results in delays and future appeals, which make it easy to ignore regulatory action. It can take five years or more to exhaust all the steps in an appeal and, along the way, fines may be reduced at each step through settlement or court decision, again diluting the consequences for neglect and abuse of the elderly.
If you or a family member has been a victim of neglect or abuse at an Iowa nursing home, it is important to seek the help of an experienced nursing home injury attorney to hold nursing homes accountable for their actions. John T. Hemminger has successfully represented victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and their families for over 30 years. Call John today at 515-283-2116.
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