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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

OIG's Shocking New Report: “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities" and the New Book "Litigating the Nursing Home Case"

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) just released it's shocking report - “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries.” 

The OIG investigation found that one third of skilled nursing home residents are being harmed, and in some cases, even dying, as a result of “adverse or temporary harm events” - instances where harm results due to the care provided - or not provided - by the facility. Examples of such events include excessive bleeding due to medication, falls, infections, pressure ulcers, blood clots, acute kidney injury and worsening of preexisting conditions due to lack of care.  

In addition to a high level of harm, the OIG found that almost 60% of these events were preventable and resulted from substandard care, inadequate resident monitoring and failure or delay of necessary care.

The release of my new book Litigating the Nursing Home Case (2 ed. 2014), co-authored with James T. O'Reilly, is timely in light of the results of the OIG's report. A major theme running through this second edition of the book is the provision of guidance on how nursing home administrators can enhance regulatory compliance to both avoid litigation and improve quality of care.

Here is a short description of this second edition of the book: 

LitNursingHomeCase2e_LRGThis new edition provides step-by-step guidance on dealing with the medical-legal issues involved in litigating a nursing home case for both plaintiffs' and defense lawyers. It also provides guidance to nursing home administrators on how to avoid liability and improve quality through regulatory compliance.

Authors James T. O'Reilly and Katharine Van Tassel begin by reviewing the responsibilities and liabilities of management, nurses, and physicians in the second edition of Litigating the Nursing Home Case. This extensive reference then examines liability and regulatory issues from both defense and plaintiffs' perspectives, including specific topics such as drug interaction and polypharmacy concerns, ulcers and infection problems, fall-related injuries, wandering and escape issues, assault and abuse, dehydration, choking, and more.

New topics in the second edition have been added, including:

- A greatly expanded description of the medical-legal issues facing both plaintiffs' and defense lawyers who litigate nursing home cases

- New guidance on how nursing home administrators can enhance regulatory compliance to both avoid litigation and improve quality of care

- New explanations of the changing types of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) surveys, including the tag system, and how these surveys can affect liability

- Updates to CMS regulations that govern quality of care

- An overview of the growing use of evidence-based care and clinical practice guidelines to establish the standard of care

- A discussion of the conflict over the legal impact of the use of arbitration agreements

- Greater detail on how to assess patterns of injuries to decide whether to accept a case or settle a case

- Additional causes of action and defenses that can be pled, and how they should be pled, in light of changes in the law

- Issues pertaining to states' pay rates and the possible wrongful discharge of a resident due to insufficient funding

- Penetrating the complexity of LLCs associated with nursing homes

This new edition is a must for both plaintiffs' lawyers representing injured nursing home residents and for the lawyers defending nursing homes in these causes of action. The expanded second edition explains the medical-legal issues that are essential to litigating a nursing home case from both perspectives. Of note, new sections have been added that describe how nursing homes can enhance regulatory compliance to both avoid litigation and improve quality of care.

 

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