When a case of abuse develops in a nursing home, the facility is required to report the incident to the local authorities. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, skilled nursing facilities “have a responsibility to ensure that reports of potential abuse or neglect are made internally and externally and are internally investigated within a certain timeframe.” Once the report is filed, “State and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies, including the State Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs), are then responsible for the investigation of reported incidents.”
The Social Security Act also states that when a long-term care facility is federally funded, they are required to immediately report “any reasonable suspicion of a crime committed against a resident of that facility. Those reports must be submitted to at least one law enforcement agency (with jurisdiction where the facility is located) and the Survey Agency.”
Are all cases of abuse reported to the local authorities?
No, in fact, the Insurance Journal highlighted that “more than one in four cases of possible sexual and physical abuse against nursing home patients apparently went unreported to police” according to a government audit that was released in 2017.
The Health and Human Services inspector general’s office initiated an investigation over a timespan that ranged from 2015-2016 and cases from 33 states were analyzed. Auditors from the inspector general’s office identified 134 cases where hospital emergency room records cited possible sexual or physical abuse, or neglect involving a nursing home resident, however, of those, 38 had not been reported to local law enforcement.
While the law does stipulate that nursing homes that are federally funded must report abuse and/or neglect, many fail to do so despite the fact that they risk being fined $300,000 and even being excluded from participating in any federal health care programs. The reality is, many of the facilities that fail to report cases of abuse that get caught often receive a fine of a lesser amount, allowing them to stay open and in operation.
Now that you are aware that nursing homes aren’t always taking the extra step to report cases of abuse to the local authorities, it is up to you to be an advocate for your loved one if you suspect they are a victim of it. Oftentimes, nursing home staff will receive notification that a resident may be the victim of abuse and rather than handle it following the laws they are required to, they do following their own rules which is why cases go unreported and facilities that shouldn’t in operation still have their doors open.
So, if you believe a loved one of yours that is living in a nursing home in Minneapolis, MN is the victim of abuse or neglect, it is best you get in contact with one of our Minneapolis, MN nursing home abuse attorneys. While you may not be ready to file a lawsuit against the facility just yet, it is important for you to become aware of the proper legal steps you will want to take. To get connected with a local nursing home neglect lawyer now, simply contact USAttorneys.com and we will place you in touch with some of the best lawyers in the field.