December 18, 2020 | Nursing Home Abuse
When a loved one is in a nursing home, we want to know that the caregivers at the facility are well-trained, prepared, and care about their work and the residents. When we worry about our family member, we might take comfort in the fact that nursing homes are regulated. Government authorities regularly monitor these homes for compliance – if there was an issue, they would step in, right? The answer may surprise you.
Yes, in a manner of speaking, the federal government does have the oversight to inspect nursing homes and hold them accountable for deficiencies in several areas. They can also investigate claims of abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, news reports suggest that deficient nursing homes across the country have been waitlisted for extra oversight. This waitlist means that some homes that should be facing stiff penalties for abuse, neglect, or deficient conditions continue to operate, conducting business as usual.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducts detailed inspections of nursing homes across the country. When issues are identified, a facility may be placed in the Special Focus Facility program, run by CMS. Once a nursing home is placed into the program, they are subject to increased inspections and increased enforcement.
Currently, there are five Kentucky nursing homes on the candidate list for the Special Focus Facility program. Only five sounds like good news, until you dig a little deeper and find that Kentucky is one of 29 states that are only allowed five candidates and are limited to just one SFF spot.
That means five nursing homes have such bad records, they are on a candidate list, but countless others could be waiting in the wings to get on the shortlist. Out of those five with serious issues, only one will be chosen for extra scrutiny. Candidate facilities are known to have issues, but unless they make it onto the list, there is no additional oversight or an increase in inspections. Funding problems with the program make it almost impossible to monitor all the facilities that need extra oversight.
To add insult to injury, the COVID-19 pandemic means that CMS had, for a time, suspended even regular nursing home inspections, creating a further backlog in an already backed up system. If the government is having a hard time keeping track of nursing home misconduct, poor conditions, and cases of abuse, who can?
Unfortunately, many times the answer may be no one. That is why friends and family members must speak up if they suspect any form of abuse or notice sudden changes in a family member’s appearance or behavior. You are the best advocate for your beloved family member and should not be afraid of speaking up if something seems amiss.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have a website where people can go to search for information on nursing home facilities.
Stay in contact with family members, and if you suspect that abuse or neglect may be taking place, contact the legal team at Minner Vines Moncus Injury Lawyers for help. We can investigate your suspicious and get your family member the help and compensation they deserve if they have been the victim of abuse. Contact us today to share your concerns with an experienced Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney.