Once a decision is made to move a loved one into a skilled nursing home living situation, the process of researching facilities begins.  Deference to knowledgeable sources such as the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as a large scale payor of health care benefits to providers, is one viable resource for safety screening and records of past violations in South Carolina. Under the CMS regulations, certified nursing home facilities must follow uniform safety and quality standards that are acceptable to the federal guidelines and the guidelines of South Carolina. Nursing homes that have been certified must take measures to stay in compliance through periodic inspections and reviews by the State that are then reported to the federal overseers of elder care for registered nursing homes and long term care facilities.

CMS screening resources.

CMS provides the Nursing Home Checklist, and the agency’s Nursing Home Compare website added in 2019, for transparency purposes when individuals, or family members are interviewing potential long term living situations.  The compare feature makes it easier to research reported abuse and negligence citations, but it does not always reveal a facility that has problems due to the lack of comprehensive reporting by inspectors who miss violations. Reported violations for CMS must involve neglect, exploitation, theft, or abuse to warrant an icon.  Violations can result from negative actions of administration and staff, or by failing to prevent abuse, or exploitation by a patient’s family member, or other patients.

Resident rights.

The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, provides rights to residents of long term facilities, including the right to be free from common forms of abuse, including verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, involuntary seclusion, mental abuse, and unintentional abuse.  A nursing home abuse attorney can assist with legal action against a facility when a resident has been harmed through abuse, or harmful complications resulting from unreported CMS violations.

Standards of care.

CMS-approved nursing homes must follow federal regulations that set forth the standard of care under 42 CFR sec. 483.25 (h) which provides that nursing home facilities ensure a resident’s environment remains as free of hazards as possible, while providing adequate supervision. When sub-standard care results in harm to a nursing home resident, legal action may be taken against a nursing home and/or the treating medical professionals.  Nursing home abuse claims include acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions, or place residents in danger, and are deviations from federal and South Carolina Nursing Home Laws. When sub-standard care results in harm, or death to a nursing home resident, call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices, to discuss a potential case for damages.

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000

 

Sources.

 

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/Regulations/R.61-17.pdf

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/About/howcannhchelp.html

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