Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Attorneys | Chicago, IL
Se Habla Español
Free Initial Consultations 888-325-7299

We are essential, and so are you! Our firm is still open for business and accepting new clients. To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering new and current clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

Nursing Home Abuse: Are Surveyors Doing Enough?

aging-2379003_640.jpgThe Government Accountability Office (GAO) says Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services surveyors may not be doing enough to protect nursing home residents from abuse. Current regulations leave many gaps in the records that allow abusers to slip through the cracks. Enhancing reporting standards will help regulators establish patterns of abuse so action can be taken against abusers in the nursing home industry.

Abuse in Nursing Homes

There are currently more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States. 1.4 million individuals rely on these facilities for their care. From 2013 through 2017, the number of abuse citations recorded in these facilities more than doubled. 

GAO analysis of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data showed that 46% of reported abuse was physical abuse. This was followed closely by mental/verbal abuse at 44%. A total of 18% of abuse cases involved sexual assaults. 58% of perpetrators were staff members, while 30% were residents of nursing facilities. The remaining 12% of abusers were family members, friends, contractors, guests, and others with access to the facility.

Gaps in CMS Processes Result in Missed Referrals and Delays

GAO's investigation of nursing home surveys identified critical gaps in reporting requirements and record keeping. Serious assaults, rapes, and other forms of elder abuse are not always reported. Moreover, effective follow-up does not always happen.

GAO recommends CMS change the way it conducts surveys and the requirements for reporting abuse. The six recommendations made by GAO include:

  • Require state survey agencies to report any suspicion of criminal acts to law enforcement
  • Develop guidance to standardize information nursing homes should self-report
  • Report data on abuse and type of perpetrator
  • CMS should enhance oversight of state survey agencies 
  • CMS should substantiate and report allegations to law enforcement and state registries
  • CMS should develop plans governing what information should be contained within referrals to law enforcement

These recommendations will help abuse victims pursue justice against their abusers, but they won't stop the abuse from happening in the first place. A conviction can stop an abuser from repeating the crime, and it can close a bad nursing home down. However, victims will still have to live with the consequences of the abuse they suffered. These changes will help, but they won't stop the rising tide of elder abuse in America.    

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Scholarship AwardWin A $1,000
Scholarship Award

Submit a 1,500 words or less topic-specific essay by July 15, 2020 via this website for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship from Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish.
Click Here for more submission details on how to win.

Get The Settlement That You Deserve Tell us about your case and we’ll get back to you with a FREE case evaluation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Schedule Your FREE Consultation

Office Location

20 North Clark Street 31st Floor
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: 888-325-7299
Phone: 312-445-9084
Phone: 312-445-9084
Fax: 312-782-6739
Chicago Law Office Map

Contact Us