Local nursing home a target for lawyers
An Arkansas law firm that has won more than $100 million in jury verdicts against nursing homes around the nation now has a Grand Junction caregiver in its sights.
Reddick Moss Trial Attorneys, a national law firm that maintains an office in Denver, published a full-page ad in The Daily Sentinel alerting Mesa Manor Center patients that the center has been cited for more than 15 violations of federal health and safety regulations during the last three years.
A review of Medicare records for Mesa Manor also revealed it was fined more than $2,100 for violations that caused actual harm to residents in 2013, according to the website Medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare.
No lawsuit, however, has been filed against the nursing home yet, said Brent Moss, a Reddick Moss partner.
Mesa Manor Center twice failed to provide care and services necessary to maintain the highest well-being of each resident, according to Medicare inspection reports from June 2013 and February 2014. The center also failed to prevent patients from developing new bed sores or healing existing ones, the February 2014 inspection report said.
In March 2015, Medicare cited the 84-bed nursing home for:
■ Failing to develop policies and procedures for influenza and pneumococcal immunizations.
■ Failing to store, cook and serve food in a safe, clean way.
■ Failing to set up an ongoing quality assessment team to review deficiencies and correct them.
The Medicare health inspection summary for March 2015 concluded most of the violations posed a risk of only minimal harm to some residents.
In a written statement, Mesa Manor said called the ad in the Sentinel “misleading” and “a marketing tactic employed by one law firm in an attempt to attract new clients and file lawsuits.”
“The deficiencies listed in this advertisement are outdated and do not accurately reflect today’s circumstances at Mesa Manor,” the nursing home wrote.
Mesa Manor Center offers short-stay rehabilitation and long-term care in a home-like environment. Situated at 2901 N. 12th St., it is less than five miles from both Community Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital.
“We offer some of the largest and brightest rooms in town,” the center’s website said.
Genesis Healthcare of Pennsylvania, owner of Mesa Manor Center, responded to requests for comment in a written statement, the full text of which is reprinted at left.
In contrast, Reddick Moss — the law firm that purchased the ads critical of the center — had plenty to say.
“We’re not trawling for clients,” said partner Brent Moss, who works out of the firm’s Denver office. “We believe it’s important for people to know about these citations.”
Moss is responsible for the contents of the ad, which includes a toll-free number for Mesa Manor residents, former residents and their loved ones to call.
More cases of nursing home abuse are being filed as the population ages, the Wall Street Journal reported last October.
A variety of federal laws and the regulations define standards of care for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Moss said.
Among other things, the law requires nursing homes to provide residents with an individual care plan. They must also receive necessary nursing and social services, medical and pharmaceutical care, dietary and nutritional services, rehabilitative services, daily hygiene and assistance with all activities of daily living.
“When the nursing home does not meet these standards, and their negligence leads to injury or illness among residents, the nursing home is guilty of nursing home abuse,” Moss said.
Despite new legislation and the efforts of individuals to hold nursing homes accountable, elder abuse is still a tremendous problem, he said.
“Our elderly are among the most vulnerable citizens in our society. They are often unable to speak up and accuse their abusers,” Moss said. “Elders are routinely the victims of financial, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The emotional and physical toll on the victim and his or her family can be devastating.”
Too often, the large corporations that own and operate nursing home chains cut corners to increase profits at the expense of residents, Moss said.
For example, Moss said his clients recently won a verdict of more than $3 million for abuse and neglect inflicted by a Pueblo nursing home.
In all, Moss’ firm has won jury awards amounting to more than $100 million in damages against national nursing homes chains since 2011. That amount is likely to grow.
The fast-aging U.S. population means more than 1.7 million beds in 15,700 nursing homes around the nation are likely to be filled with elderly residents by 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Lawsuits alleging abuse and neglect may be driving up insurance costs, but they haven’t driven any big chains out of business,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Around 70 percent of nursing homes in the U.S. are run by for-profit corporations, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.