Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nursing Homes in Massachusetts

Nursing Homes in Massachusetts

McDonough allowed to testify in Sudbury sexual assault case - Framingham, MA

A Sudbury nursing home resident who said she was sexually assaulted by an employee of the home more than a year ago will be allowed to testify at his trial, a judge ruled today.

Ruby McDonough will be allowed to testify against Kofi Agana in his Framingham District Court trial on Jan. 12, Judge Robert Greco said.

McDonough has been diagnosed with expressive aphasia, a condition that makes it difficult for her to communicate verbally or through writing.

McDonough had previously been ruled incompetent to testify by a Framingham District Court judge, but the state Supreme Judicial Court made a ruling that the judge erred by not allowing her to have an aide assist in her testimony.

McDonough, through her lawyer Wendy Murphy, was seeking to have that incompetence ruling overturned. Greco did not specifically overturn the ruling because he said the ruling did not make a judgement about her mental capacity. He said it was a ruling on her ability to testify.

After the ruling, a visibly happy McDonough gave a thumbs up to Murphy.

"The fact that she's being allowed to testify is the same as saying she is competent,'' said Murphy. "She's so happy."

Greco said McDonough will be able to testify with some accommodations, such as yes or no questions and being allowed to take a longer time than usual to answer questions. However, he did not rule how much an expert will be allowed to assist in the testimony.

Read more: Ruby McDonough allowed to testify in Sudbury sexual assault case - Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News McDonough allowed to testify in Sudbury sexual assault case - Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News

Elder abuse and neglect complaints are on the rise in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Complaints of elder abuse and neglect have risen statewide in recent years while resources to investigate them have failed to keep pace.

Case workers investigated about 16,000 reports of elder abuse or neglect in the year ending June 30, 2009, the most recent statistics available. The data cover people 60 and older in private living environments.

“It could be the economy. It could be any number of reasons,” said Deborah Fogarty, director of protective services for the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs. “We have a rapidly growing population of people who are 60 and over.”

Only when an extreme case of neglect is alleged, as in the case of a 68-year-old Hanover man charged this week with allowing his 93-year-old father to live in squalor, does elder abuse attract widespread attention.

Prosecutors say John T. Hallinan, 68, left his father duct-taped to a chair while he went to work. Police found the elderly man lying in a diaper on the floor in excrement, with sores on his feet.

Hallinan has been charged with assault and battery on a disabled person over 60.

Massachusetts law defines elder abuse as physical, emotional and sexual abuse, caretaker neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation of a person 60 or older.

There are 22 regional agencies in Massachusetts in charge of investigating cases of elder abuse, and they have a total of 179 case workers assigned to investigate complaints.

After someone files a report of abuse, it is screened by a supervisor at one of the local protective service agencies to determine whether it is covered by the elder abuse law. Cases then are assigned to three priority levels from emergency to routine response.

Emergency cases call for contacting the alleged victim within five hours and visiting within 24 hours. Routine responses involve a home visit within five days.

Protective service agencies can assist elders with medical, legal, psychological, financial and housing assistance. In extreme cases of abuse, they refer cases to local district attorneys.

But investigations can come to an end if the senior refuses to answer the door or declines assistance.

“Self-determination is one of the underlying philosophies,” Fogarty said. “If an elder has the capacity to make decisions and declines an investigation, they have that right.”

Educating members of the community on how to spot signs of elder abuse is a priority of the state and local agencies, Fogarty said. A housekeeper visiting the Hanover residence reported the alleged abuse Aug. 23 after finding the 93-year-old man bound to a chair with duct tape.

Agencies held public events around the state in June to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. They also have worked with local banks and trained employees to spot signs of financial exploitation, such as seniors withdrawing large sums of money frequently.

Elder abuse and neglect complaints are on the rise in Massachusetts - Fall River, MA - The Herald News

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011



Opinion 2010

MA Court rules LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA can't be tried criminally

The Highest Court in Massachusetts in 2010 concluded that a corporation could not be convicted of involuntary manslaughter, based on a theory of corporate criminal liability established by aggregating the knowledge and actions of multiple employees that were at worst merely negligent (i.e., a nursing home employee's removal, from a patient's medical chart, of a doctor's order that the patient wear a security bracelet; the knowledge of various employees that the patient was supposed to wear a security bracelet and tended to attempt to leave the nursing home; the knowledge of a nursing supervisor that the security bracelet order had been removed from the patient's chart and her failure to have the order reentered on the chart; and the failure of a substitute nurse to check that the patient was wearing the security bracelet), in the absence of evidence that at least one employee acted, or failed to act, with the requisite mental state of wanton or reckless conduct.
This court concluded that a corporation could not be convicted of neglect of a resident of a long-term care facility, in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 38, based on a theory of corporate criminal liability established by aggregating the knowledge and actions of multiple employees that were at worst merely negligent, in the absence of evidence that at least one employee committed abuse, mistreatment, or neglect while acting with the requisite mental state of knowing and wilful conduct.

Life Care Center faced manslaughter charges in Massachusetts

Acton, Mass. — There are a few facts almost everyone agrees on surrounding the death of Julia McCauley.

On the morning of Aug. 17, 2004, McCauley, 74, rolled her wheelchair unattended out the front door of the Life Care Center of Acton, where she had been a resident for five years, and tumbled down a flight of stairs. She died a short time later.

McCauley, who had approached the doors of the 1 Great Road facility before, was not wearing a doctor-prescribed WanderGuard bracelet designed to set off an alarm and lock the doors if McCauley got too close to the exit.

But that’s where the common ground ends for Life Care Center officials and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Coakley’s office believes that McCauley’s death could have been avoided had she been wearing her electronic bracelet and that the nursing home’s parent company, Life Care Centers of America, is culpable.

But Life Care Center officials deny any wrongdoing and argue that McCauley’s death, though a tragedy, was an unfortunate accident in a long-term care facility striving to provide the best possible care.

Life Care officials also argue prosecuting the corporation could also cause a backlash against nursing homes, hospitals and other health care facilities where accidents inevitably occur.

The corporation is charged with manslaughter and neglect of a long-term care facility resident. The trial begins March 9 at Middlesex Superior Court.

“We think it’s an important case,” said Harry Pierre, a spokesman for Coakley’s office. “Our lawyers are prepared to prosecute the case.”

If convicted, the Tennessee-based corporation could face fines of up to $6,000.

But Life Care officials said they are confident heading into next week’s trial.

“Julia McCauley was a beloved member of our community and a part of our family. At the end of the day, her death was an accident, not a crime,” said Rob Alderman, Life Care’s director of public relations. “We are looking forward very much to having our good name cleared.”

Life Care operates more than 200 facilities in 28 states, including several that have come under scrutiny in the past.

In 2005, the company paid $2.5 million to resolve allegations of billing Medicaid and Medicare for services that were never provided or were useless to the residents of a Lawrenceville, Ga., facility.

And the Acton facility has been the target of state and federal fines in the past.

The facility was fined $2,112 in the fall of 2005 and $11,147 in December 2006 for various deficiencies found during routine state checks.

In July 2007, state and federal regulators imposed fines totaling more than $164,000 for deficiencies that jeopardized residents’ safety. But the fines were rescinded after a more extensive investigation.

Alderman said the Acton home has addressed all the deficiencies found in the state inspections, which has improved the facility.

“The question is do we get up every single day and decide to make the facility better than it was the day before, and that’s the case in Acton,” he said. “Acton is absolutely on top of it. It’s a great place to be.”

The case against Life Care Center is possibly one of only two instances where the commonwealth has charged a corporation with manslaughter.

In August 2007, the commonwealth charged the company that supplied epoxy used in the Big Dig with manslaughter after a Jamaica Plain woman was killed when a ceiling panel in the Interstate 90 Connector Tunnel fell on her car. That case was settled last December.

Coakley also held a press conference last week to announce her support for legislation to increase the maximum fine for a corporation convicted of manslaughter from $1,000 to $250,000.

The $1,000 fine was enacted in 1819 and needed to be updated, Coakley said in the Feb. 26 press conference.

If the Legislature approves the change in law, it would not apply retroactively to the Life Care case.

But Alderman questioned the timing Coakley’s press conference, a week and a half before the start of the trial.

“The timing was rather odd for this announcement with the upcoming trial,” said Alderman. “We believe the people of the great commonwealth have to ask themselves the question ‘What’s motivating the attorney general and who stands to benefit from the case?’”

Pierre denied any connection in the timing of Coakley’s announcement and the start of the Life Care trial.

“I can say there’s no correlation between when the case is starting and our announcement,” he said. “We felt the law needed updating and we felt this was a good place to start.”

Life Care Center faces manslaughter trial date - Acton, MA - The Beacon

Prisons vs Nursing Homes

prisons vs Nursing Homes

Hippa Form for Medical Records - Free Download

Down load free Hippa form to get your Nursing Home Records
Hippa Form Medical Records

Proposals to curb nursing home abuse faltering in Kentucky

Two proposals aimed at preventing and investigating abuse of nursing home patients appear to be dead or stalled in the ongoing state legislative session, according to their sponsors.

In Kentucky, nursing home deaths from neglect and abuse often aren't criminally prosecuted because the coroner isn't called to investigate. But a bill that would require Kentucky nursing homes to report all deaths to the local coroner will not go forward this session because of opposition, its sponsor said.

Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, said he won't call House Bill 69 for a vote in his House Health and Welfare Committee, citing opposition from the nursing home industry and budget concerns from the state's chief medical examiner, Tracey Corey.

Corey has said she would need to hire three medical examiners and support staff to handle the additional death investigations that could result from calling coroners after each nursing home death.

Burch said he tried to compromise with nursing home industry leaders with no success

Read more: to curb nursing home abuse faltering in Frankfort | Voiceless & Vulnerable: Nursing Home Abuse |