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Poor care at nursing homes and hospices

According to three reports, there are significant problems with the care patients receive in some hospices and nursing homes in New Mexico and the rest of the country. Hundreds of health care providers are providing inadequate and dangerous care that is being concealed from consumers. It is also important to note that there is a lack of state and federal resources to take action.

State and federal government agencies are unable to properly address the negligent providers due to years of sustained budget cuts. There is also resistance in the industry, which forcefully reacts to government regulation that's geared toward enforcement. While many nursing home and hospice centers are reputable, this stance against regulation tends to put all providers in a bad light.

One report details the existence of chronically low-quality nursing homes. Two members of the United States Senate issued a report on nursing homes that routinely fail state inspections. While the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is intended to use a system to properly handle the subpar facilities, the results of the study indicated that the program has failed.

Facilities that have several cases in which residents or patients are abused are designated as Special Focus Facilities by CMS. These facilities are inspected more frequently so that investigators can determine if the problems have been remedied. However, because of budget limitations, no more than 88 facilities can be designated as SFFs.

An attorney who handles nursing home abuse claims may consider the facts of a case before advising clients on their legal options. It's often possible to pursue financial damages against medical personnel and a nursing home facility for negligent care. Lawsuits may be filed against multiple parties for psychological, verbal, physical or sexual abuse.

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