According to the National Center of Health Statistics there are over 1.5 million people in nursing homes in the United States. The estimate of understaffed nursing homes is approximately 90% according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are over 20,000 complaints of abuse, gross neglect and exploitation.
In September 2011, a man was admitted to a local nursing home and was experiencing medical conditions that were potentially life threatening. The nursing home held itself out as a properly staffed, skilled, qualified nursing home and a Medicare/Medicaid Provider.
Then the family’s nightmare began.
In October, 2011, the man’s daughter sent a letter to Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals stating a complaint that the nursing home was not providing appropriate care for her father. Two months later, a request for medical records and a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization were sent to the nursing home. A HIPPA authorization may be used to obtain health records the patient, or legal representative, is entitled to by law. According to federal law, Medicare/Medicaid Providers like this healthcare provider are required to follow certain federal regulations and statutes meant to ensure proper conduct by the provider.
One month later, in January 2012, we at the Cardone Law Firm, as counsel for the patient and his daughter, sent a request for the patient’s records to an officer of the facility accompanied by a Power of Attorney. Days later a followup call was made to the nursing home. Over the next several days, the staff repeatedly dodged any phone inquiry and insisted they would call back. We subsequently contacted the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals regarding the numerous attempts.
One of the defendants, an officer for the nursing home, contacted us claiming that the documents needed to be given to the CEO of the facility. Only his phone number was given. The CEO of the nursing home and a defendant Larry S, repeatedly refused to answer calls until we were told the documents needed to be personally delivered to the home of Larry S. We attempted delivery and defendant claimed that no records would be released unless the patient was declared legally incompetent. This claim was not based on any actual law or statute. In March 2011, a final attempt for the records were made on the facility and after no response followed up the request with a statement advising facility of their federal violations.
Senator Mary Landrieu’s office contacted the patient’s daughter to inform her that the Senator’s office had advised nursing home that the requests made were valid requests for medical records.
The Nursing Home ultimately had to pay over $6,000 for failing to provide the medical records is a timely manner.
There is no reason to allow a nursing home to fall short of their promised duties. Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other special people in our lives depend on their nursing home to take care of them and keep adequate records of their treatment. We at Cardone Law understand the toil and plight of people suffering at the neglect and greed of individuals and we fight for you to get the help you may need.
If you or a loved one suffered or are suffering as a result of an organization’s negligence or intentional actions please contact our experienced Louisiana injury attorneys to schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and throughout Louisiana.
Injured? Phone Cardone. 504-522-3333.