Articles Tagged with Bangor nursing home abuse

The federal agency in charge of overseeing more than $1 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid funds has taken a stand against the commonplace practice of forcing victims of nursing home abuse into resolving disputes via arbitration, rather than in court.

Increasingly, provisions buried in the fine print of nursing home admission contracts have required residents to resolve quality of care disputes within this private system – out of public view. Not only are these proceedings confidential, but also they consistently favor the nursing home. Even when damages are awarded to plaintiffs, they are usually much less than what one would typically receive in a judgement issued by the courts. Arbitrators are chosen by the nursing homes, and there is an incentive for them to resolve cases in a way that minimizes the financial impact to the facility.

This, of course, is inherently unfair, and advocates for years now have been calling for the federal government to step in and curtail such forced arbitration. Now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, has taken a major step in restoring a key right of millions of vulnerable, elderly Americans. The agency’s new rule, hailed as the most significant in decades, holds that any nursing home that gets federal funding can’t deny residents and families the right to have their day in court.

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A new report by the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program indicates the state is the No. 1 most-improved when it comes to slashing the number of potentially fatal antipsychotic medications doled out to elderly in nursing homes.

That’s certainly good news. But there’s more to it.

The state still ranks 26th in the U.S. in terms of the total number of nursing home residents prescribed these dangerous drugs.

Falls in nursing homes are not all that uncommon, but they are generally preventable – particularly when they involve a patient falling out of a window.

According to The Bangor Daily News, state health officials in Frenchville launched an investigation into a nursing home in late November, following the death of an elderly female resident who apparently suffered a fall from second-story window of the facility Nov. 14. She died at a nearby hospital.

In following up with the center just five and six days later, state investigators witnessed a series of deficiencies in care that rose to the level of serious, meaning patients at the site were deemed to be in immediate danger.