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Personal Injury 3804 articles

Five-star care

This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans for the establishment of a new ranking system for nursing home performance. Similar to rating systems that the public is familiar with in relation to products or facilities like restaurants and hotels, the new CMS system will rate nursing homes with a “star” system, with five stars being the best and one star the worst. CMS is the federal agency that manages Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and Medicaid, the health program for the poor. On its web site, CMS says the new ... Read More

U.S. Senate debates arbitration

A joint meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights and U.S. Senate Aging Committee was held this morning to discuss S. 2838, The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, sponsored by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. The bill’s sponsors argued that more nursing home facilities are requiring patients and their families to sign mandatory arbitration agreements, signing away their right to sue in the event of abuse or neglect, which they said is unfair. “We believe the vast majority of nursing homes ... Read More

Senate supports roof crush liability

A U.S. Senate panel recommended Wednesday that a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposal on vehicle roof strength requirements be amended so that it does not limit the ability of plaintiffs to sue automakers in roof crush cases, according to an Associated Press report. The NHTSA proposal to upgrade Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 216 (FMVSS 216) would require that a roof withstand an applied force equal to 2.5 times the vehicle’s weight while maintaining sufficient headroom for an average size adult male. The current standard is 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight. Consumer groups, led by the People ... Read More

Fear of Retaliation

Phil Kadner, a reporter for the Southtown Star in Illinios, recently told of a heartbreaking visit to his office by an elderly gentleman whose wife recently died while under care in a nursing home. Crying, the man told Kadner he was afraid to complain about what he saw as neglectful treatment, fearing the nursing home staff would retaliate by treating her worse. The man recounted deficiencies including a room with no telephone or oxygen supply hook-up (requiring portable tanks to be wheeled in when needed), an ill-fitting oxygen mask, and problems with medications, among other things. Worried about “retaliation,” as ... Read More

FEMA Trailers Toxic

On May 25, MSNBC reported that investigation continues in cases of illness resulting from FEMA trailers provided to evacuees from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Formaldehyde was detected in the travel trailers and mobile homes in unusually high levels, and about 17,000 people are claiming the homes caused illnesses for themselves or loved ones. This report was written by MSNBC’s Spencer S. Hsu. WASHINGTON – Within days of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in August 2005, frantic officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered nearly $2.7 billion worth of trailers and mobile homes to house the storm’s victims, many of them using a ... Read More

Abuse Records Reopened

A decision from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office on May 27 reverses an earlier decision to keep secret the names of people fired from care facilities for abusing elderly and disabled clients. According to The Des Moines Register, the new decision comes nine months after the state first began to limit access to the information. The Register reports that records with names of caregivers fired for abuse were sealed beginning last August based on a new interpretation of a state law that has been on the books for 17 years, which specifies that judges are obligated to keep “unspecified ... Read More

FAA Bans Chantix

The Wall Street Journal reported in its Health Blog on May 21 that the Federal Aviation Administration has banned the stop-smoking drug Chantix for pilots and air traffic controllers. According to the report, Pfizer’s smoking-cessation drug Chantix came in for a bit more trouble as a research group cited reports of physical side effects associated with the drug. The FAA, which reviewed the report, barred pilots and air traffic controllers from taking the drug, the WSJ reports. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices examined adverse-event reports turned into the FDA in the fourth quarter of last year, and found 988 ... Read More

Alabama Among Worst

A review of the nation’s nursing home inspection reports by the Congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) lists Alabama among nine states with the worst records of nursing home inspection accuracy, saying inspectors missed serious problems in more than 25 percent of all inspections from 2002-2007. The report said most states still fared dismally, missing at least one serious deficiency in 15 percent of all inspections. Other states on the “worst reporting” list are Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. Results of the report were published in the New York Times May 15, which says the study ... Read More

2 million elderly victims

“Every day, American families face difficult decisions about whether to move a loved one into a nursing home. There are nearly 17,000 nursing homes in the United States that currently care for 1.6 million residents — a figure expected to quadruple to 6.6 million residents by 2050. The quality of care provided by these nursing homes has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent years.” – U.S. Congress Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Henry A. Waxman, 110th Congress According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), no one knows precisely how many older Americans are being ... Read More

Nursing home fines, bonuses

On March 3, the Des Moines Register reported that in 2007 the state fined 23 Iowa nursing homes $10,000 or more for providing substandard care. Some of those homes were also hit with federal fines and sanctions against their state licenses. Of those 23 homes, 16 stand to collect bonus Medicaid payments this year from state and federal taxpayers, according to the Register. The bonuses are tied to a state program that rewards nursing homes for providing quality, cost-effective care. Elderly abuse is a crime. If you or a loved one have suffered nursing home abuse and neglect, please contact ... Read More