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Fort Worth Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

The state of Texas has one of the largest growing populations of senior citizens in the country, putting a spotlight on the treatment of elders in the nursing homes around the state. Fort Worth nursing facilities have come under investigation in the last three years for allegations of abuse and neglect. In some of those cases, huge settlements have been paid by the nursing home facilities.

Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit

In 2014, the Texas Attorney General filed three separate cases of elder neglect against nursing homes, on behalf of the Department of Aging and Disability Services. These facilities are located in Forth Worth and Arlington, and have clear evidence of violations in their care and treatment of their patients.

In the assisted living facility in Fort Worth, fire safety procedures were completely ignored or not in place at all, resulting in dangerous safety violations. Another community in Fort Worth allegedly failed to provide prompt medical care that resulted in the wrongful death of a patient. In Arlington, a rehabilitation center has been charged with many allegations, including allowing bedsores to form and worsen due to improper care, including one case that led to a wrongful death of a disabled patient.

These types of lawsuits come on the heels of statistics that show that Texas consistently scores the lowest ratings across the country for the state of nursing home care.

Kindred Healthcare Pays Millions

The nursing home parent company Kindred Healthcare recently settled a lawsuit with multiple state governments for over 100 million dollars. This lawsuit alleged that their facilities committed Medicaid fraud which led to neglectful treatment of elderly patients.

The Fort Worth facility was held responsible for 2.2 million dollars of that settlement, due to falsified Medicare records. The evidence showed that instead of providing the right type of care for each patient based on their needs, the facility took care to make their records reflect a false need for high Medicare payments.

Examples of the way the records were falsified include reporting a higher number of hours spent in therapy, scheduling and reporting therapy sessions that were not attended or necessary, reporting hours of therapy being provided when patients were in fact asleep or currently in the care of a local hospital, and placing patients on the highest level of therapy reimbursement, instead of finding the right level for the patient’s specific needs.

These practices not only resulted in a high level of unnecessary payments, they also resulted in many elderly patients both not receiving necessary care, and in using up Medicare benefits that could have been stretched further to cover more of their medical expenses later.

The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team and the Texas Attorney General worked together to ensure the settlement in the Fort Worth facility, alongside the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the HHS Office of Inspector General.

The laws regarding elder abuse in Texas state that financial abuse is considered just as severely a crime as physical abuse. By accepting payments from the patients’ limited Medicare allotments that could have been used for other treatments, these facilities may also have faced criminal financial abuse charges under the law, had they not settled. The money from the settlements goes back to the states involved in the case, to replenish the Medicare and Medicaid payments that were wrongfully claimed.

Other states involved in the case included Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, and Kentucky, where the Kindred Healthcare headquarters is located. As of 2014, Kindred Healthcare had an operating revenue of over five billion dollars, for their 1,000 nursing facilities across the country.

 

Sources:

http://www.hastingsfirm.com/Articles/Families-must-vigilantly-monitor-care-quality-in-Texas-nursing-homes.shtml

 

http://enewspf.com/2016/01/12/nations-largest-nursing-home-therapy-provider-kindredrehabcare-to-pay-125-million-to-resolve-false-claims-act-allegations/

 

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20160112/NEWS/160119961

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