Michigan deals with its nursing home abuses
Web posted at: 8:46 p.m. EDT (0046 GMT)
DETROIT (CNN) -- A recent report on California nursing homes documenting multiple instances of abuse and neglect has many fearing the abuses could be common nationwide.
But some states, including Michigan, are already cracking down on nursing home abuses.
Last February, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley charged nine people, from executives to nurses' aides, and three corporations associated with four nursing homes with a total of 71 felony counts. Among the complaints: patient abuse and falsifying records.
"In some of these cases we found among some of these homes just some of the most inhumane treatment of people by way of assault, neglect and just plain cruelty," Kelley said.
One defendant, Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corp. of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was charged with 13 felony counts, including 5 counts of venerable adult abuse and 3 counts of destruction of medical records, involving the Greenery nursing home in Howell.
Five Greenery employees were also charged. One has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 months probation. The others have a preliminary hearing set for August 14.
Kelley's complaints in the Greenery case alleged that criminal neglect due to inadequate staffing resulted in serious injury of five residents. One man who suffered neglect had to have his lower leg amputated.
The union representing the nursing home workers said it's not just patients who are suffering -- workers are simply overloaded.
"In an industry where there is a 100 percent turnover rate per year because of wages and the training and the injuries rates are so high, people can't afford to stay in many situations," said Bonnie Ladin of Service Employees International Union.
It is cases like these in Michigan that have prompted the Clinton administration to commit to a crackdown on abuses, urging the enforcement of fines and increased worker training.
But Kelley pointed out that 80 percent of nursing homes in the nation are fine, with adequate staff and professional care.
He said families should make several visits to prospective homes and check to see if there have been complaints. With a little research, he said, families can choose a quality home.
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