Nursing home neglect and abuse can pose a major threat to the health and well-being of elderly or disabled residents in North Carolina. A report presented to the U.S. Senate in June revealed that the federal government knew that a number of nursing homes were severely troubled but did not release that information to the public. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, has come in for criticism due to allegations that it has not done enough to crack down or warn the public about nursing homes that could pose a danger to their loved ones, allowing them to continue to accept less-informed patients.
Residents of North Carolina who are concerned about neglect and abuse in health care facilities should be aware of a disturbing case in which a vulnerable patient gave birth in an Arizona nursing home. A subsequent medical exam discovered that she had suffered sexual assault at the hands of a male employee. Her attorneys planned on going to court if an agreement on a settlement for the victim and her parents could not be reached, and a separate case was opened against the nurse who assaulted her. It was proven that he was the father of the baby after a paternity test.
Healthcare fraud may not be what immediately comes to mind when people in North Carolina discuss nursing home abuse, but it is a serious and growing issue. Generally, the healthcare fraud engaged in by nursing homes involves illegal, inflated or improper medical billing. Residents in nursing homes who get funding from private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare are more vulnerable than others to fraud. When such fraud happens, it can have serious negative effects for the resident.