Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in South Carolina

South Carolina currently has 188 nursing homes listed on the Medicare website. About 22% of those facilities have an overall 5-star rating. The other 78% fall short of above average care, with only 16% with a one-star rating. The facilities are rated in 4 categories: overall rating, health inspections, staffing, and quality measure. Does that mean that they are not in compliance with the laws and regulations South Carolina has set in place, or does that just mean they don’t go above and beyond the categories mentioned, but still fall within the law?

Requirements for Licensing

South Carolina requires that nursing facilities are compliant with Medicare/Medicaid regulations, which are federal run entities. They also require that those facilities have the proper license in accordance with the South Carolina Regulation 93-110 and 120. This is done through the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. When applying for this license, there is a two-part examination. The first part is the national portion, which makes sure the applicant is compliant with federal laws. Then the applicant goes through the South Carolina portion, which makes sure that they are also in compliance with the laws that the state has set in place.

What Does the Law State?

South Carolina has a Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities. In this Bill of Rights, it states that at the time of admission, each resident shall be informed of the facility’s services, charges, and the facility’s refund policy. It also states that the resident’s guardian has the right to choose a personal attending physician, participate in planning care, and must be informed of any changes to the resident’s care or treatment. When it comes to the resident, the Bill of Rights states that each resident must be free from mental and physical abuse, as well as free from any chemical or physical restraints except those ordered by a physician. The resident’s personal possessions must be stored in a secure location free from any damage or theft. They are to be treated with dignity and respect and assured privacy during personal treatment. Under no circumstance whatsoever should a patient be refused treatment based on their sex, race, color, religion, national origin, or source of payment.

The State Getting Involved

In May of 2014, the S.C. Senate Medical Affairs Committee passed a legislative bill to allow residents of nursing homes to install electronic monitoring devices in their room. This was passed due to the high statistics of elderly abuse and neglect. The committee thinks that by allowing the residents to install their own monitoring system, this will lower the chances of abuse and neglect taking place inside of the nursing home facility.

The following October in the city of Aiken, S.C., the Aiken Department of Public Safety was called to investigate a local nursing home after a case of alleged elderly abuse. The Aiken Regional Medical Center received a 70-year-old man that had multiple bruises on his arms, knees, and abdomen.

Wrapping Up

Even though there are laws set in place, there are nursing homes that still break those laws. If caught breaking the law, the facility can have their license revoked, pay a fine, or even do jail time. South Carolina seems to have a lot of laws set in place for elderly long-term care and they are doing what they can to enforce those laws. The Medical Affairs Committee has even imposed new laws to further the safety and well-being of nursing homes residents.

Sources:

http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/longtermhealthcare/index.asp?file=LTHCLIC.HTM

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t44c081.php

http://health.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes/area/sc

http://www.elderly-abuse.com/wordpress/category/states/south-carolina/