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OUR LATEST News AND Updates

 

what's happening in our world

Call to Support Senate Bill 932

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Texas Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 932, the bill that would crack down on bad nursing homes, and now the House is deliberating on whether these bad nursing homes should be held accountable for their wrongdoings. Jack Modesett wrote a letter in February congratulating Senator Schwertner for his work on this bill and on behalf of some of our most vulnerable citizens, which can be read here.


This morning's Austin American-Statesman features a full page ad in support of the bill and we strongly encourage you to check it out, learn more about the low quality of care provided by Texas nursing homes, and take action.


"Tell your legislator to make nursing homes safer and protect Texas seniors by passing Senate Bill 932. Call 1-844-305-8852 today."

Jack's Take on the Bill that would Crack Down on Bad Nursing Homes

Modesett Williams - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Read the Austin American-Statesman article about Senate Bill 932 here. The bill was filed by State Senator Charles Schwertner on Thursday, February 16, 2017.


Jack Modesett has spent twenty-five years representing patients who have suffered abuse in the long-term care setting. He feels that Senator Schwertner is to be congratulated for his work on behalf of some of our most vulnerable citizens, but he knows there is still work to be done in protecting these people.


The two agree that nursing home operators must be held accountable for their acts of malfeasance. In handling hundreds of these cases across Texas, Jack has seen every kind of horror one can imagine and recognizes that these types of abuses and neglect occur all too frequently in nursing homes. He asserts that this will continue as many nursing home operators have used recent changes to Texas law to "associate" with county hospitals and then claim Tort Claims Immunity. These "associations" are a sham and change nothing about how the homes are operated or who really operates them; some of the "associations" are with county hospitals that are not within a hundred miles of the home.


If Jack can offer any assistance in representing these victims, holding nursing home operators accountable, or improving the long-term care industry, Modesett Williams stands ready.

CNN: Over 1,000 Nursing Homes Cited for Mishandling and Failing to Prevent Sexual Abuse

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CNN investigation published: February 22, 2017


"The unthinkable is happening at facilities throughout the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.


"It's impossible to know just how many victims are out there. But through an exclusive analysis of state and federal data and interviews with experts, regulators and the families of victims, CNN has found that this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.


"Even more disturbing: In many cases, nursing homes and the government officials who oversee them are doing little - or nothing - to stop it.


"Sometimes pure - and even willful - negligence is at work. In other instances, nursing home employees and administrators are hamstrung in their efforts to protect victims who can't remember exactly what happened to them or even identify their perpetrators.


"In cases reviewed by CNN, victims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations - or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. And because of the high bar set for substantiating abuse, state regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver.


"It's these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice - and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes."


Continue reading about the mishandling and lack of prevention of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse cases in nursing homes here:

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/

Medical Errors Now 3rd Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

Modesett Williams - Friday, May 13, 2016

CBS News has also reported on the study from scientists at Johns Hopkins, saying that, "Medical errors, including wrong diagnoses, botched surgeries and medication mistakes, are the third leading cause of death in the United States..."


Continue reading here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/medical-errors-now-3rd-leading-cause-of-death-in-u-s-study-suggests/

Second Study Says Medical Errors Third-Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

Modesett Williams - Monday, May 09, 2016

A recent USA Today article by Jayne O'Donnell says, "Medical errors kill about 250,000 people a year, a new study from a well-known John Hopkins medical school professor and author said Tuesday."


Read more on this chilling statistic here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/03/second-study-says-medical-errors-third-leading-cause-death-us/83874022/

What You Don't Know About Your Doctor Could Hurt You

Modesett Williams - Monday, April 18, 2016

"Thousands of doctors across the U.S. are on medical probation for reasons including drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and making careless - sometimes deadly - mistakes. But they're still out there practicing. And good luck figuring out who they are."


Read more of this Consumer Reports article by Rachel Rabkin Peachman here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/doctors-and-hospitals/what-you-dont-know-about-your-doctor-could-hurt-you/index.htm

Nursing Homes Combining with Hospital Districts - Crony Capitalism at Its Worst

Modesett Williams - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For those who keep abreast of developments in the world of nursing home care in Texas, a recent Dallas Morning News article should cause outrage. Nursing homes have entered into sham arrangements with rural hospital districts (which are governmental entities). The stated purpose of the arrangement is to give the nursing home access to additional federal dollars and improve the care of nursing home patients (Texas ranks last - 50 out of 50). But the law permitting this arrangement does not compel nursing homes to use this new money to improve care. Nor does it give the hospital districts any authority on how to improve care. So, what could be the real purpose of these arrangements? Money. The hospital districts receive a little money, the nursing homes receive a lot. A second purpose, unstated in the article, is to potentially further lower the statutory cap on damages. If your mother needlessly dies of malnutrition because the staff did not feed her, her damages may be capped at $100,000 under certain circumstances. Stay tuned.


Read the full Dallas Morning News article here:

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20150530-public-hospitals-help-nursing-home-operators-get-federal-funds.ece

Low-rated Texas nursing homes strike deals with public hospitals for federal cash

Modesett Williams - Monday, October 26, 2015

A recently published article in the Dallas Morning News tells the story of good intentions and bad results. Nursing homes have reached agreements with local hospital districts that provide more federal dollars for the nursing home, but there is no requirement that the nursing home use that money to improve care. Consequently, a majority of this money will go directly into the nursing home operator's pocket and not towards patient care, no matter how poor a nursing home's record. An additional outcome is that patients harmed by the nursing home's poor care may be subject to even lower caps on their damages.


Read the entire article here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20150530-public-hospitals-help-nursing-home-operators-get-federal-funds.ece

Nursing Homes Abuse Antipsychotics to Control Patients

Patricia Small - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A recent article by AARP sheds light on a widespread problem in nursing homes that is putting elderly patients at risk. According to the article, thousands of nursing homes across the country are using unnecessary antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints to control residents. 


The article quotes Toby Edelman, an attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy in Washington, D.C., who points to inadequate training, understaffing, and aggressive marketing tactics by big pharmaceutical companies as the driving force behind this long-standing practice. These large companies target nursing homes as the main distributor of their drugs because these facilities are often highly medicalized but typically have very few doctors on site. Less than a year ago, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were forced to shell out over $2.2 billion for criminal and civil charges after marketing non-FDA approved drugs to nursing homes, the article reports. 


"When nursing facilities divert funds from the care of residents to corporate overhead and profits, the human toll is enormous," Edelman said.


And indeed, the bottom line is often the most important factor when considering the quality of care received by patients in nursing homes. Nursing homes can cut costs by keeping less full-time staff members, or employing CNAs over full-time physicians. The CNAs working in nursing homes are often underpaid and overworked, a problem that is compounded by residents who require a high level of care, the article reports.


Although by law, nursing homes require informed consent by a patient, or family member if consent by the resident is not possible, before receiving drugs like antipsychotics, many nursing homes administer these medications without authorization, pointing to "bad behavior" as justification for doling out antipsychotics to patients. According to the article, these drugs are not meant for elderly patients or those with Alzheimer's or dementia, but rather for patients with extreme schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. 


"They can dull a patient's memory, sap their personalities and crush their spirits," states a report from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. 


Not only can these drugs make patients agitated, anxious, confused and disoriented, they can also double the risk of death in the elderly, the article reports. Despite knowing the risks associated with antipsychotics, pharmaceutical companies continue to market their products to nursing homes, claiming these drugs work as an effective way to control difficult patients. 


The article details a specific case of overmedication in a nursing home resident, reporting that Patricia Thomas, a 79-year-old nursing home resident, went into a nursing home with a broken pelvis, and died within weeks of being discharged after an 18-day stay. 


According to the article, Thomas's daughter, Kathi Levine, 57, said she "wasn't my mother anymore. She was withdrawn, slumped in a wheelchair with her head down, chewing on her hand, her speech garbled."


The article reports that her short stint in the nursing home exposed her to so many heavy-duty medications, including illegally administered antipsychotics, that she was no longer able to function. For each drug she was given, she was given another drug to counter the side-effects of the first. 


"My mother went into Ventura for physical therapy. Instead, she was drugged up to make her submissive. I believe that my mother died because profit and greed were more important than people," Levine said.


Levine took her case to a Ventura County Superior Court judge, and attorneys from Johnson Moore joined by lawyers from AARP Foundation settled a class-action lawsuit against the nursing home for illegally administering dangerous drugs, the article reports. 


Attorney Kelly Bagby, senior counsel fro AARP Foundation litigation, said, "It is the first case of its kind in the country, and hopefully we can replicate this nationwide."


For more information, see the full article by AARP

The Good Guys are out There

Patricia Small - Friday, June 13, 2014

Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute Works to Mitigate the Growing Tide of Elder Abuse


In Harris County, a coalition of clinicians, APS (Adult Protective Services) workers, prosecutors, attorneys, community groups, researchers, academics, business entities, social service agencies and others have formed a clinical and research arm to help stop elder abuse in Texas. The group was formed to educate health professionals, community service workers and the public about the growing problem of elder abuse. 


TEAM takes clients referred by APS who have suffered substantial abuse or neglect, may have complicated medical issues and often have a questionable capacity, and provides a comprehensive geriatric assessment. After this medical assessment, a plan of care is determined by an interdisciplinary team made up of the APS case worker, a social worker, and the TEAM Institute medical team. 


TEAM is also the umbrella organization for H-FAST and EFFORT, which also have a role in protecting the elderly and providing justice for abuse and neglect cases that result in tragedies. H-FAST, the Houston Financial Abuse Specialist Team, works specifically to fight against financial exploitation of the elderly, which is the third most common form of abuse against our elderly. EFFORT, or the Harris County Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team, reviews specific cases of unexpected adult deaths and reports its findings and recommendations to the Harris County Commissioner's Office every two years. 


For more information on TEAM and how you can get involved, visit these sites:


https://med.uth.edu/im/divisions/geriatric-palliative-medicine/research/basic/

http://www.apshealthcare.com/

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/special-reports/article/As-Houston-region-gets-older-abuse-of-elderly-4872716.php#/0

http://www.houstonmatters.org/show/2014/04/18/preventing-elder-abuse-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-record-store-day-houston-matters-for-friday-april-18-2014






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