Author Archives: Caroline J. Berdzik

Debate Over Mandatory Vaccinations for Health Care Employees Continues After Nurse Awarded $11.6 Million Dollars After Becoming Paralyzed

Sarah Behie worked at a hospital in Pennsylvania as a nurse when she received a flu vaccine in 2010. Several weeks after receiving this vaccine she started to develop severe tingling and weakness in her extremities. She was subsequently diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease and has purportedly lost the use of her legs and has limited use of her upper body. As a result of this severe adverse reaction to the vaccination, the nurse can no longer work and she has been hospitalized and in…

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Adult Entertainment? Long Island Nursing Home Sued for Allegedly Hiring Strippers for Resident Activity.

A nursing home in Long Island, New York is being sued by the son of an 85 year old resident for its alleged hiring of male strippers to entertain the residents. According to the son, when he showed up to visit his mother he observed a photo of his mother placing dollars down a male dancer’s underwear. According to the lawsuit, there were other residents in the photograph partaking in the activity. The son maintains that he complained to the facility but nothing was done…

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Worked to Death? Family of Deceased Nurse Sues Employer

In the 24/7 healthcare world, it is not uncommon for nurses and other health care professionals to work long hours and overnight shifts. In a recent case in Ohio, a family of a deceased 38 year old nurse is suing The Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati where she used to work as a nurse in the bone marrow unit. A year ago, the nurse lost control of her vehicle driving home after completing a 12 hour shift at the hospital and passed away.  The hospital and…

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Pennsylvania Provides Some Welcome News for Long Term Care Providers

Surveys or statements of deficiencies have traditionally been used as a weapon by plaintiffs’ attorneys in nursing home professional liability cases. They have been used in billboard and print advertisements to solicit business and have also been used at trial to try to establish that a facility breached the standard of care. Interestingly, many times the surveys that plaintiffs seek to admit into evidence at trial do not even relate to the resident in question. Understandably, the impact of a bad survey, even if unrelated…

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Another Hospice Provider Charged With Overbilling Medicare and Medicaid

Passages Hospices, LLC of Illinois and its administrator and part owner, Seth Gillman were recently charged with overbilling Medicare and Medicaid for improperly keeping nursing home residents on hospice.  Mr. Gillman is also an agent and secretary of Asta Healthcare Inc., which operated the nursing homes in question .  According to the complaint, a high percentage (22 percent) of Asta nursing home residents received hospice services for more than six months.  In addition, the company is accused of unnecessarily elevating levels of care to general…

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New Jersey Federal Court Ruling Confirms That Nursing Home Residents Rights Statute Cannot Be Used In Assisted Living Settings

A Federal Court Judge in New Jersey recently reversed his earlier ruling and held that the New Jersey Nursing Home Responsibilities and Rights Act does not apply to assisted living facilities. Previously, State Courts have refused to apply the Nursing Home Residents Rights Act to assisted living facilities. In this particular case, Ms. Andreyko alleged that her mother had been beaten and neglected by employees at an assisted living facility in New Jersey. She tried to sue under the Nursing Home Residents Rights Act and…

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Reducing Elopement Risks in Nursing Homes

Elopements from nursing homes and assisted living facilities can have negative outcomes, particularly in cold weather. A recent case in Wisconsin involved a 76 year old resident who left her assisted living facility by climbing out her living room window. A search was conducted and when she was found about 90 minutes later, she was in critical condition and was not wearing any appropriate clothing for the cold temperature. She later died at a hospital. Facilities must be vigilant in identifying residents with elopement risks…

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No Facility-Wide Bans on CPR in Skilled Nursing Facilities Due to Advance Directives and Changing Demographics

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just issued a memorandum which would impose citations on skilled nursing facilities that have facility-wide policies that do not permit cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for residents. In the past, some facilities have had such policies because research has shown that CPR is not extremely effective among older individuals. CMS has stated that such facility-wide bans fly in the face of federal regulations which guarantee a resident’s right to have advance directives. According to the memo, these decisions should…

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Nursing Home Residents Trust Accounts to Receive Federal Review

As you may recall, several months ago we ran a blog post about theft of nursing home resident trust accounts, and provided tips for managing resident trust accounts and the employees who handle these accounts. Recently, USA Today ran an article on the mismanagement of these trust accounts which attracted the attention of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, which has now requested a federal review to determine whether sufficient oversight is in place at nursing homes to make sure residents’ money is…

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Up in Smoke: Smoking Policies in Nursing Homes Critical for Safety

Recently, a resident caught fire while sitting in his wheelchair on an outside patio at a Chicago area nursing home. His shirt first went up in flames and other residents attempted to come to his aid to extinguish the flames. The resident, while still on fire, then wheeled himself back into the facility where the staff put out the fire with an extinguisher. The resident was then apparently wheeled back out to the patio and CPR was not performed until the first responders arrived. This…

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