Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law
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Sometimes, nursing homes get reprimanded when their facilities are not up to standards and/or are endangering their patients. As a result, they can become put under "special focus status", which means they are strictly overseen and are placed under a high level of scrutiny.  Unfortunately, recent data suggests that after nursing home receive such violation notices, they do not often improve.   According to one news source, "While special focus status is one of the federal government's strictest forms of oversight, nursing homes that were forced to undergo such scrutiny often slide back into providing dangerous care, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal health inspection data."  Out of over 500 nursing homes that came out of special focus status before 2014 and are still in business, over half of them have since harmed patients or put them in serious danger. These violations have included giving patients incorrect medication, failing to intervene in cases of violence from other residents or staff members, and withholding information from families and physicians regarding injuries. These homes are found in almost all 50 states.  

Within the article, it is noted that "special focus facility status is reserved for the poorest-performing facilities out of more than 15,000 skilled nursing homes. The federal government assigns each state a set number of slots, roughly based on the number of nursing homes. Then state health regulators pick which nursing homes to include. More than 900 facilities have been placed on the watch list since 2005." 

Not all nursing homes are created equal.  This also means that not all nursing homes provide the same level and quality of care.  With this in mind, you will need to research possible nursing home options extensively to avoid the possibility of negligence or abuse of a loved one, as well as under/inefficient staffing.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please call his Altoona, PA firm at 814-946-4100.

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