File this one under “believe someone the first time they show you who they are.”
Across the country, the nursing home industry has been lobbying for immunity from Covid-19 claims. In fact, Florida’s governor is considering such a proposal right now. Immunity means that a nursing home can neglect your loved one and unnecessarily cause his or her death and have no consequences for doing so whatsoever. None.
What is even more preposterous is that some states are also providing immunity for nursing homes that fail to keep resident records currently required by law. Imagine that your loved one dies from Covid and you get no explanation from the nursing home as to what happened and there no records to review. That’s it – your inquiry is over.
Highlighting this problem is that nursing home residents are our most vulnerable citizens, they need more protection, not less. So far in Florida, Covid deaths in nursing homes represent 20% of all Covid deaths in the state.
Nursing homes that fail to take even the most basic precautions to prevent infections would have no consequences for doing so. Failing to use PPE, failing to educate staff on simple infection protocols, failing to test and isolate sick residents – you name it – its open season.
In all but the absolute worst circumstances, they wont have any criminal responsibility either. No repercussions whatsoever. Sound like a good idea? Has this industry demonstrated it doesn’t need oversight?
Are there nursing home operators who are conscientious and will do a good job? Yes, and they don’t need protection.
Let me give you an example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services rank every nursing home in the country that accept Medicare as a form of payment. The ranking system is from one to five stars and is based on a host of categories relevant to resident health and safety. Our Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys have brought claims against every one star facility in the greater Jacksonville area and, in some instances, we have brought multiple wrongful death claims against the same nursing home. In contrast, to date, we have not handled a single claim against a five star facility. Not one.
When we were not in a crisis, how did some of the nursing home operators act? In other words, “who have they shown us to be?”
The cases handled by our Jacksonville nursing home neglect lawyers tell volumes: a woman who died unnecessarily from a ruptured intestine after nursing home staff ignored weeks of diarrhea; a 52 year old woman who died because the nursing home refused to provide her with medication because the medication was too expensive; and a woman who died after her tracheostomy tube came out and no one at the nursing home knew it needed put it back in in order for her to breathe. In all of these cases, the nursing homes were understaffed and its employees were poorly trained.
How will we feel when we learn that the nursing homes with one or two stars are the ones with the highest rate of Covid infections and Covid deaths? I guarantee that there will be a positive correlation. Is that okay? Do those operators deserve immunity?
Also, don’t buy it when they try to tell you they don’t get enough money from the government to properly take care of people. It is not true. One star facilities get paid exactly the same amount per resident as five star facilities. Continue reading