Personal Injury

Advocate wants federal nursing home database to include abuse cases

Nursing home advocate Wes Bledsoe wants the federal government to change the way it rates nursing homes on its Web site Medicare. gov, to accurately reflect the quality of care at nursing homes, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.

Bledsoe, founder of the watchdog group A Perfect Cause, returned to Albert Lea, Minnesota, to rally support for his efforts. Bledsoe has been to Albert Lea numerous times in response to news reports about the “abuse-for-thrills” case at Good Samaritan Society nursing home where two nursing aides have been charged with a linty of crimes including disorderly conduct, assault and criminal sexual abuse.

According to prosecutors, Brianna Broitzman and Ashton Larson held down residents, put their fingers in residents’ mouths and noses to quiet their cries and screams for help, hit and rubbed their breasts and genitals, and sexually “humped” some residents. They told coworkers that they partook in the crimes for “work fun or to get a good laugh.”

Bledsoe explained the problem with the five-star reporting system by poring through Minnesota Department of Health reports, including one that was released last August in which the “abuse-for-thrills” case was reported by Good Samaritan. He said since nursing homes self report incidents of abuse and neglect and implement a plan of correction before the state Department of Health arrived, Good Samaritan received no deficiencies for the abuse.

Since the federal database tracks deficiencies at homes and not substantiated abuse cases, people who refer to the federal database have no way of seeing an accurate picture of the care a nursing home provides. Bledsoe is fighting to get substantiated abuse cases added to the federal database, and urged others to contact their state legislators, U.S. congressmen and senators.