The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the launch of its National Nursing Home Initiative task force on March 3, 2020. Unlike previous enforcement efforts, which focused on healthcare and financial fraud, this initiative moves quickly and targets some of the worst nursing homes in the country. So far, the DOJ is already investigating 30 nursing homes in 9 states.
Which Homes Will Be Investigated?
With a focus on the physical well-being of nursing home patients, the task force is looking for instances of abuse, neglect, and “grossly substandard care.” To put it simply, the DOJ is targeting facilities that:
- Are consistently understaffed
- Fail to adhere to basic protocols of hygiene and infection control
- Do not meet the dietary requirements of their residents
- Withhold pain medication
- Use physical and chemical restraints to sedate residents
In severe cases, these facilities have residents with Stage III or IV pressure sores, allow residents to lie in their own waste for hours, and fail to feed and wash patients regularly. Some of the homes in question also have filthy and dangerous premises, with leaky roofs, mold, and rodents in residents’ rooms.
How Does Litigation Fit In?
Most of the locations targeted by the DOJ have already been the subject of civil lawsuits. The grossly substandard care that prompts a DOJ investigation is also the heart of many legal claims.
If you’ve been thinking about filing suit, you should not wait – a facility facing legal action will more than likely end up on the DOJ’s National Nursing Home Initiative watchlist.
Another way to alert the DOJ is to report your loved one’s nursing home to the U.S. Attorney’s Office nearest you or alert local law enforcement.
Why Was The Task Force Formed?
In a press release regarding the National Nursing Home Initiative, Attorney General William P. Barr made the following statement:
“Millions of seniors count on nursing homes to provide them with quality care, and to treat them with dignity and respect when they are most vulnerable, yet, all too often, we have found nursing home owners or operators who put profits over patients, leading to instances of gross abuse and neglect. This national initiative will bring to justice those owners and operators who have profited at the expense of their residents, and help to ensure residents receive the care to which they are entitled.”
While protecting residents and holding nursing homes accountable has been a longtime goal of the DOJ, this new initiative will allow them to do so faster and more effectively.
Unfortunately, punishing negligent providers does little to help those who have already sustained life-changing injuries and losses as a result of nursing home neglect and abuse.
Pursue Justice Now with Sette & Parnoff, PC
If you or your loved one has been injured in a nursing home, our firm encourages you to come forward. You should not have to wait for justice to be served through a DOJ investigation, nor should you have to face the financial consequences of your injuries or losses alone.
At Sette & Parnoff, PC, we can help you file a lawsuit to recover damages. Taking legal action will help you and your family and will likely alert the DOJ of an institution with grossly substandard care, thus protecting others from the same neglect and abuse.