Massachusetts Health Regulators Implement Plan for Stronger Oversight of Nursing Homes.

There have been several recent reports regarding incidents of Massachusetts nursing home abuse and neglect that document for every Massachusetts elder abuse case that is reported, five elder abuse cases go unreported. Under Massachusetts law, neglect is defined as the failure of a nursing home or other elder care facility to provide the goods and services necessary to avoid physical injury, mental harm or emotional distress. It is important to remember that aside from overt abusive acts, such as verbal abuse and failing to adequately medicate an elder, omission or failing to act can also constitute elder abuse. If there is any suspicion about the potential for elder abuse with respect to you or a loved one, you should immediately contact a Massachusetts nursing home abuse lawyer.

There are approximately 40,000 people living in over 400 nursing homes throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, last year, the Department of Public Health received nearly 11,000 complaints from people concerning problems in these nursing homes. Therefore, Massachusetts state officials are moving to improve the oversight of nursing homes throughout the state. The plan is to conduct unannounced inspections and impose fines on problem-plagued facilities. Furthermore, the plan calls for heightened background checks of companies and executives applying for licenses to run nursing homes in the state. In March, the Massachusetts Health Commission will require details on the criminal and financial backgrounds of executives in a nursing home’s affiliated companies.

According to the Boston Globe, this plan comes to light after Synergy Health Centers, an out-of-state nursing home chain, established nursing homes in Massachusetts last year with little attention from regulators. The company is reportedly known for substandard care and had numerous complaints filed for medications errors, inadequate training, and short-staffing, amongst other things. As another facet of the plan, the Massachusetts Health Commission will also hire and train more staff in order to deal with the backlog of consumer complaints regarding nursing homes. Moreover, consumers will have access to an online system to file complaints and find out more information about nursing homes in the state. Massachusetts will start imposing fines in March for any nursing home that violates state law. State law allows fines of up to $50 per day, which is far less than the $10,000 per day available federal sanction.

If you feel that you or someone you love has been a victim of elder abuse, please do not hesitate to contact our Massachusetts nursing home abuse lawyer experts at 617-787-3700 or email us at info@gilhoylaw.com.

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