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Federal study shows rise in medical malpractice in nursing homes

According to a recent report by a publication that services the long-term care profession, the numbers of residents who are receiving care from nursing home facilities has declined. Unfortunately, the numbers of complaints regarding care and neglect in these institutions has risen substantially over the past several years. Since there are countless Arizona families who depend on these types of homes to care for aged or ailing family members, any news concerning possible medical malpractice in the form of neglect may be of interest.

According to a recent study by the federal Office of Inspector General through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the numbers of complaints regarding substandard or neglect care has increased by an estimated 33 percent in the years between 2011 and 2015. Of those complaints, purportedly half of them concerned what are considered high priority claims that may involve immediate danger to a patient. These types of reports must be acted on within 10 regular working days. Of these reports, approximately one-third were found to have merit.

Though serious reports are expected to be investigated with the 10-day span, there were four states, including Arizona, that supposedly failed to meet that federal requirement. The report's authors stated that the increase in reports does not necessarily indicate an increase in neglect or substandard care; instead, it may be a result of increased efficiency in processing these types of reports. Tennessee was the source of the majority of the serious accusations.

Regardless of the reasons behind the rise in reports, an increase of approximately 15,500 possible neglect allegations may be a serious concern for those who are seeking qualified care for a failing loved one. Along with the physical and psychological harm that this behavior inflicts on these victims, they often sustain monetary damages as well. Those who suspect that a resident has been a victim of neglect or abuse while residing in these facilities are entitled to seek the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in this type of medical malpractice.

Source: mcknights.com, "Nursing home complaints rose by 33% over four years, new report finds", Elizabeth Leis Newman, Accessed on March 13, 2018

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