On March 3, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will be increasing its efforts to combat substandard nursing home care by launching the National Nursing Home Initiative. The announcement, made by Attorney General William P. Barr, comes amid increased scrutiny of nursing homes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the U.S.
According to a recent report by NBC news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that nearly 150 nursing homes across 27 U.S. states had patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. While the prevalence of COVID-19 in our nation’s nursing home facilities is not an indication of substandard care, it has brought the issue of nursing home care to the forefront of the public’s attention.
How the National Nursing Home Initiative Will Take on the Mistreatment of Nursing Home Residents
During the press conference where Attorney General Barr announced the new initiative, he stressed that the initiative should not be taken as condemnation of nursing homes as a whole but instead as an effort to weed out specific facilities that have a pattern of mistreating or abusing residents. He went on to reveal how the DOJ has “uncovered horrifying examples of certain nursing facilities, where seniors are being mistreated, undernourished, and neglected.”
The National Nursing Home Initiative, which will be led by a partnership between the Elder Justice Initiative and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will seek both criminal and civil action against nursing homes and long-term care facilities found to be mistreating, neglecting, or abusing their residents.
What Is Considered “Substandard Care?”
Attorney General Barr reported that as many as 30 nursing homes in 9 separate states are currently under investigation, citing a number of facilities that he asserted were “unfit for living.” When investigating the state of nursing home facilities throughout the U.S., the DOJ looked at a number of factors in determining which facilities were not providing residents with adequate care.
According to the DOJ, these factors included, among others, facilities that:
- Did not have an appropriate staff-to-resident ratio
- Failed to provide an adequate standard of hygiene and cleanliness
- Failed to adhere to basic infection prevention protocols
- Withheld food or medication from residents
- Did not provide adequate nutrition/hydration to residents
- Used either physical or chemical (drug) restraints on residents
- Sedated residents through chemical means
Attorney General Barr expressed that the DOJ has zero tolerance for substandard nursing home treatment, stating, “Mark my words: The initiative will bring to justice those owners and operators who put profits before patients.”
Fighting to End Elder Abuse & Neglect
For more than 25 years, Todd Miner Law has been committed to fighting for victims of nursing home abuse throughout the Orlando area. Led by founding attorney, Todd Miner, we have successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. If you or someone you love suffered abuse or neglect while staying in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact us right away to learn how we can help.
Schedule a free consultation by calling (407) 269-5877.