Troubling Facts Of What Hundreds of Senior Californians Suffer
Report Cites Lack of Regulation and Fraud
Mismanaged Medications, Infections, And Abandonment
At a time when the U.S. population is aging and the hospice industry is booming, a troubling study conducted by the Los Angeles Times found hundreds of instances where Californians in nursing homes and hospice programs and facilities were harmed, neglected or put at serious risk, their mistreatment sometimes exacerbated by serious gaps in government oversight. According to the report, quality-of-care failures ran the gamut from mismanaged medications to neglected wounds that became infested with maggots. The investigation indicated that nurses, hospice aides, and home health aides repeatedly missed appointments or slept on the job as patients lay writhing in pain. If you have a loved one who has suffered injury due to neglect in a nursing home, hospice program or neglect by an in-home caregiver here in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call the nursing home abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669, and we can help. When Medicare or Medi-Cal pays for services never provided or accompanied by false certifications, the actions are false claims to the government and can form the basis of whistleblower suits. Individuals who bring false claims whistleblower cases for health care fraud like this can be rewarded and our litigators also represent plaintiffs in those kinds of cases.
Failures of State and Federal Regulators
According to the LA Times report, even when regulators identified such failures, providers were rarely penalized. In the case of hospice programs, violations that led to severe infections or death were addressed with little more than a promise to do better, according to the report. Hospices are regulated far less rigorously than other healthcare providers. While nursing homes and hospitals are subject to a range of potential fines and civil enforcement actions, hospice regulations do not provide for those penalties. At the federal level, regulators rarely impose their only available sanction: cutting off Medicare funding and booting bad actors from the program. From 2014 to 2017, only 19 hospices were terminated — fewer than one half of 1% of the 4,000-plus providers then operating nationwide, according to the Government Accountability Office. Until 2015, Medicare mandated hospices to be inspected only once every six years. That time frame has been shortened to once every three years, but inspections remain less frequent than those required annually for nursing homes.
Standing Up For Injured Patients and Against Fraud
Against the backdrop of lax enforcement by government agencies, it is essential that families of injured patients take up their cause for justice and proper treatment. Our litigators believe that all those accountable for the abuse or neglect of seniors should be held accountable for their actions. Responsible parties include the owners and administrators of nursing homes, home health care agencies and hospice programs, staff and individual at-home caregivers. Hospice patients are especially vulnerable to neglect and the numbers of hospice patients 9and hospice agencies) here in Los Angeles is growing tremendously. The number of hospices, many of which are for-profit businesses, quadrupled over the last decade as end-of-life care has become a multibillion-dollar business dominated by profit-driven operators. Los Angeles County alone saw a sixfold increase in hospices, according to the Times analysis of federal healthcare data. If seniors are neglected by these hospices, the owners and all other persons responsible for the neglect should be accountable. Nursing homes, hospice programs and owners should also be held responsible for all false claims for payments under Medicare and Medi-Cal and our litigators can initiate whistleblower actions based on credible information you may have of fraud.
If you or a loved one is or has been the victim of abuse or neglect from a caregiver or while residing in a nursing home, hospice program, or other care facility in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other nursing home abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Ingrid and our other elder abuse attorneys will pursue all available remedies for injured seniors including recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing your lawsuit. Our litigators also have years of experience with false claims whistleblower cases especially in the health care field and can represent individuals with information of fraud in bringing their case in the best posture for a possible reward for their efforts if the government recovers money paid our due to fraud.