Michigan Initiative Aims To Protect Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents
Residents of Michigan nursing homes are getting added protection from scammers through a new initiative.
A complaint system operated by the attorney general’s office will be a direct line between the department and facility administrators who may notice warning signs of financial exploition, a release from Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office says.
Administrators can report their suspicions to the Health Care Fraud Division for investigation via the new online portal available on the departments website.
The safety and security of nursing home residents is one of my departments top priorities, Nessel said in the release. This portal will provide an avenue for nursing home employees to report suspected embezzlement and financial exploitation. If a facility knows a resident has a stream of income, but their patient account is in the red, it may be a warning sign that someone is siphoning away the patients assets. That concern can be reported via this portal directly to our team to evaluate for investigation. We look forward to working collaboratively with the long-term care community to root out and prosecute any suspected abuse.
Suspicions and complaints can be lodged by anyone to the attorney general’s hotline at 800-24-ABUSE.
No charges have been filed.
Understanding Elder Abuse Neglect And Exploitation
Elder and vulnerable adult abuse, neglect and exploitation are behaviors committed against an elder or vulnerable adult who is unable to protect himself or herself due to a mental or physical impairment or due to advanced age. The perpetrators are often trusted caregivers and happens in licensed settings such as adult foster care, community living centers for those with dementia and other disabilities, in both for-profit and non-profit, understaffed nursing homes.
General abuse is defined as harm to an adults health or welfare caused by another person and can present in three different forms.
- Physical abuse. This includes things like hitting, pushing, shoving, shaking, beating, burning, and using drugs and physical and medical restraints in an inappropriate way.
- Sexual abuse. This includes unwanted touching, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, sexually explicit photographing and video recording, and sexual contact with someone who cant give consent.
- Emotional abuse. This includes verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, harassment, treating an older person like a baby, and isolating an older person.
Neglect is the inability or failure of the individual responsible for the care of the vulnerable elder to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, showering, toileting, and pain management.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered from elder abuse, you might want to reach out to a nursing home lawyer.
Attorneys at top law firms know how to report a nursing home for abuse within the legal system. They can get financial compensation from long-term care facilities so you can pay for medical bills and other expenses.
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What Are The Possible Outcomes Of The Hearing Process
The ALJ must determine whether the Bureau adequately investigated the Complaintant’s allegations against Respondent facility, or whether re-investigation should be ordered under Sections 20176 and 21799a of the Michigan Public Health Code. The Complainant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that the determination or investigation by the Bureau was inadequate. After all sides have entered the evidence, each side then has an opportunity to provide a statement supporting why the ALJ should, based upon the facts presented, find in favor of their side of the case.
The ALJ can only find that the investigation was adequate or, if it was not, propose that the Bureau be ordered to conduct a re-investigation. The ALJ cannot impose fines, make decisions about the quality of care received by a resident, or decide whether a resident got what was paid for.
After the hearing is completed, the ALJ prepares a Proposal for Decision that includes the ALJs findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommendation. Exceptions to the PFD may be filed. The Department Director then enters the final decision at the administrative level. The Department Directors decision may be appealed to circuit court.
Assisted Living In Michigan
We have gathered data for over 20,000 assisted living communities serving seniors across the U.S., and over 750 statewide. Our research indicated that a resident in an assisted living community in Michigan will pay $3,850 per month on average.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of the elderly living in Michigan is growing. One of the reasons why seniors are choosing to retire in the state may be because there is no sales tax on social security retirement, U.S. military pensions, Michigan National Guard pensions, or railroad pensions.
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Nursing Home Abuse Neglect And Exploitation Is Happening In Michigan
In a review of federal CMS data, in 2017, nearly a quarter of the 444 Michigan nursing homes receiving government funding were cited for serious violations related to the health, safety and well-being and harm of residents. Most officials from CMS will argue those numbers are likely much higher if facilities accurately reported all concerns. But since perpetrators are often trusted caregivers and can happen in licensed settings such as adult foster care, community living centers for those with Alzheimers or dementia, in both for-profit and non-profit facilities in fear of losing government funding, many incidences remain to go undocumented and thousands of residents continue to be at risk of harm.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can occur in many different ways, including:
- Wandering and elopement
In Michigan, there are state laws that make elder abuse and neglect a crime, and those found guilty of it can go to jail.
Nursing Home Rules And Regulations
Nursing homes in the state of Michigan must comply with state and federal government regulations that set minimum levels of care which is assured to each and every nursing home resident. Under these regulations, nursing homes are required to develop, post and implement a policy on the rights and responsibilities of patients. The Patients Bill of Rights in the Michigan Public Health Code assure elderly nursing home residents the following protections:
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What Is The Role Of Law Enforcement In An Aps Investigation
Upon request by APS, local law enforcement officers are required to cooperate in an investigation of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation. If the APS worker is denied entry to the suspected victims residence for an interview, APS may request the law enforcement agency to seek a search warrant.
If you suspect an elderly person of being abused, neglected, or exploited and the person is a resident of an adult foster care home , home for the aged , or a nursing home, in addition to filing a report with APS you may also take other action, such as filing a complaint with the state agency that regulates the facility:
For a resident in an Adult Foster Care home
Michigan Statutes Of Limitations In Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Under state law, the statutes of limitations for nursing home abuse and neglect cases are as follows:
- Medical negligence Michigan sets the statute of limitations for medical negligence, under which many nursing home abuse and neglect cases fall, at two years after the negligent act. This means victims and their families have two years from the date an act of negligence occurred to file a lawsuit. Nursing home abuse and neglect are generally considered medical negligence, or medical malpractice, because nursing homes have a legal duty to provide a reasonable standard of medical care.
- General negligence In some cases, nursing home abuse cases may involve general negligence, which has a three-year statute of limitations. This applies to both injury and wrongful death cases.
- Extended time deadlines There are certain situations and exceptions where a statute of limitations may be extended. These include when a victim suffers from a mental illness at the time of injury, at unlicensed facilities, in cases of sexual abuse, and when the victim of negligence dies before or within 30 days of the statute of limitations.
The unique facts of your case will determine the statute of limitations. It is wise to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Michigan to learn about specific deadlines for your case.
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Michigan Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Unfortunately, Michigan is known for being a state with constant problems in regards to nursing home neglect and abuse. Every year, it seems that professional standards and the quality of care in Michigan nursing homes continue to worsen. From the development of bed sores on patients to instances where the personal belongings of patients are stolen, there are clear cases in which the legal rights of residents are violated in Michigan every day.
According to data gathered by Medicare, 122 of the 446 nursing homes rated in Michigan have been found to be below average compared to national statistics because of violations and deficiencies that led to substandard care. Did your loved one died prematurely from neglect or were they abused, neglected or mistreated while residing in a Michigan nursing facility? If so, contact a Michigan nursing home abuse lawyer at Nursing Home Law Center today to discuss filing a claim for compensation. We offer every potential client a free case evaluation to determine the merit of their claim.
If family members suspect that these types of events are happening in a loved ones nursing home, then now is the time to act. Now is the time to get in touch with a Michigan nursing home abuse lawyer to receive additional help in pursuing a claim against a nursing home. A nursing home lawyer can document any evidence of abuse or neglect, interview key witnesses in a nursing home and file the legal documents necessary to get your case started.
Who Is Required To Report
Any person can make a report. Certain individuals are required by law to report suspected abuse. This includes anyone who is:
- Employed, licensed, registered, or certified to provide health care, education, social welfare, mental health, and other human services
- Employees of an agency that is licensed to provide such services
- Employees of the county medical examiners office
- Law enforcement officers
- Adult Day Care Providers
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Michigan Mi Choice Waiver Program
Medicaid will not directly cover the cost of assisted living in Michigan. However, they offer the MI Choice Waiver which covers personal care services to help with tasks such as taking a bath, shaving, getting dressed, and walking. Unlike Medicaid, the waiver only has a certain number of enrollment slots available, so when those are filled, you may be put on a waiting list.
The MI Choice Waiver does not cover room and board expenses. They do, however, offer community transition services for elderly who want to move from an institution to assisted living. The transition services help with security deposits, essential furnishings, and set-up fees or deposits for utility services.
Who Is Eligible?
Residents interested in applying for the MI Choice Waiver need to be financially eligible for Medicaid as well as meet the following qualifications:
- Age 65 or older
- Monthly income for a single resident must not exceed $1,012 , and assets must be $2,000 or less
- Monthly income for married residents must not exceed $1,372 , and assets must be $2,000 or less
- Meet nursing home level of care but prefer assisted living
If approved for the waiver, a registered nurse and social worker will do an in-home visit with the resident and his or her family and friends. At that time, a service plan based on what the resident wants will be created.
How to Apply
Directory Of Assisted Living Facilities In Michigan
As you start your research for a quality assisted living facility in Michigan, knowing the types of services each facility provides and the financial help available to help pay for those care services, is important. The registry below can aid you in your research by providing details and information on more than 750 facilities in the state of Michigan.
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How To Report A Nursing Home For Abuse Or Neglect
Nursing home abuse is an all-too-common problem that can be seriously harmful or even deadly. The National Institute on Aging suggests reporting abuse as soon as possible.
Thankfully, family members have many options to report nursing home abuse.
Families can report nursing home abuse by contacting:
- Elder justice groups
- Local police or law enforcement
- Long-term care ombudsmen
- Medical professionals like doctors or nurses
Sadly, nursing home abuse often goes unreported. In 2016 alone, the Associated Press found that roughly 6,600 cases of possible abuse or neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities were not reported. The National Research Council also found that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse gets reported.
It is always a good idea to report cases of possible nursing home abuse. If a resident is not willing or able to speak up, their family should take immediate action on their behalf.
Report nursing home abuse right now. Get started with a free legal case review.
Requirements For Reporting Abuse
Abuse of any kind, or even suspicion of abuse, should be reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Adult Protective Services. To report the abuse, call 444-3911 at any time. 24 hours after you make your report, Adult Protective Services will begin an investigation.
If you feel the assisted living facility is in violation of the governing act or rules, you can file an anonymous complaint with the Bureau of Community and Health Systems. There are three ways to send your complaint: Using the online form, print and complete a paper form and mail it to the address listed on the website, or call 856-0126.
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S To Take After Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care notes that there are several ways to keep a resident safe after you report nursing home abuse.
The National Consumer Voice recommends:
- Getting the elder proper care and support so they can recover
- Following up with those investigating the abuse
- Asking for copies of the investigations findings
You may also want to take further action to ensure the safety of your loved one. For example, you can move them out of the nursing home where they were harmed to improve their quality of life.
You can also contact a nursing home abuse lawyer who can tell you about your legal options.
Depending on investigation and/or court findings, an abusive nursing home staff member may be prevented from working at other facilities. They may also face fines or time behind bars.
Protecting Your Loved One From Abuse And Neglect
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living says there are several warning signs to look out for when identifying elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Those may include:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, scratches, hair loss, abrasions, and burns
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, anxiety and unusual depression
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area from sexual abuse
- Sudden changes in financial situations
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and abnormal weight loss
- Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by staff
- Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person
If you do have suspicions about the care your loved one is receiving, make sure to speak up and follow these precautions:
- Dont make your visits predictable, visit frequently, and at different times on different days
- Dont be afraid to ask hard questions to your loved one and their care staff about care
- Check for bedsores, unexplained bruises, and sensitivity to pain
- Note the cleanliness of all the residents and the facility, including the bathroom
- Check for weight loss and learn the signs of dehydration
- Request a medication review
- Keep a small journal for notes during and after visits
- On each visit, have your photo taken with your loved one and date it
Do not be afraid to report any suspected abuse or neglect immediately.
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Laws To Protect Nursing Home Residents
Both federal and state laws combine to regulate almost every aspect of nursing home activity. If a patient is abused or neglected, it is likely that the nursing home is in violation of strict laws designed to curtail such activities.
Most nursing homes participate in both Medicare and Medicaid programs. If the resident who suffered abuse received Medicaid or Medicare benefits, then it is possible that inaccurate and illegal billings may have been submitted to the government.
In addition to federal laws regulating the quality of care in nursing homes, the state of Michigan has enacted laws, including Michigans Statutory Patients Bill of Rights includes the following :
The cost of treating injuries suffered at the hands of a nursing home can be quite high. Often the resulting injuries are permanent. This is an extreme hardship for the injured person and his or her family.
If the condition was determined to be the fault of a nursing home, then there should be insurance in place to provide financial compensation for the substantial bills and expenses that will be incurred.
What Information Is Required To Submit A Complaint
A trained IDOH Complaint Department staff member will guide you through the process of submitting a complaint by asking a series of questions. You do not have to have all the answers to submit your complaint. You will, at a minimum, need to know the name of the facility or entity and the address, including city or town, where the licensed healthcare facility or entity is located.
Additional information that may be helpful when submitting your complaint includes, but is not limited to:
- Name of any resident, patient or client affected
- Name of staff member or facility/ entity personnel involved
- Date and/or time of the alleged incident
- A brief description of your concern
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