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Rise in for-profit nursing homes leads to rise in abuse, fraud

Families are naturally hesitant to trust the care of their aging parent or loved one to a nursing home. Although families genuinely feel confident that their loved one will be provided with a reasonable standard of care, nursing home abuse and neglect is not entirely uncommon. Elderly residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are prone to fall victim to elder abuse and personal injury while under the supervision of nursing home staff.

Readers in Georgia may be shocked by a recent investigation conducted by Bloomberg News that unearthed startling trends in the nursing home industry. These trends shed some light on the increase in claims of nursing home abuse and fraud that have been prevalent in the past decade. According to the Bloomberg report, which was based on U.S. government data obtained via requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the rise in abuse among the vulnerable elderly in nursing home facilities is related to the rise in the number of nursing homes being operated as for-profit organizations. The report cites an audit by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission that 70 percent of nursing homes were operated as for-profit facilities in 2010.

According to the Bloomberg report, cases against two for-profit facilities, brought about by patients' families and also by law enforcement agencies, allege that it is common practice to keep employee hours at a minimum in an effort to cut costs. These facilities are also accused in these cases of pushing patients to receive services that they sometimes do not need so that they can be billed for the services.

Families should diligently watch for signs of abuse in the elderly residing in nursing homes, including bedsores, bone fractures or unexplainable personal injuries. Legal ramifications for those perpetrating abuse against the elderly can be severe and can include both civil and criminal penalties. An experienced attorney can help a family identify their options.

Source: The Huffington Post, "For-Profit Nursing Homes Fuel Rise In Fraud And Abuse Charges," Jeffrey Young, Dec. 31, 2012

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