California Attorney General Office Information On Elder and Nursing Home Abuse

The following information is provided by the California Attorney General Office, see, e.g., http://oag.ca.gov/bmfea/elder. The numbers all point to staggering statistics, and the following information is only for reported cases – as I have previously written, the information available indicates that cases of abuse very significantly outnumber the reported cases, perhaps by a 24 to 1 ratio.

Elder Abuse

      • The United States Census Bureau projected in 2000 that California’s elderly population will have doubled by 2025 to 6.4 million – a larger growth rate than any other state
      • The California Department of Finance projects that the number of California residents aged 65 and older–those who are most likely to need nursing homes or other long term care–will nearly double between 2010 and 2030.
      • About 110,000 Californians live in about 1,300 licensed nursing homes and about 150,000 live in about 7,500 licensed residential care facilities for the elderly. Another 150,000 or more Californians are estimated to live in unlicensed assisted living facilities that may or may not be able to care for them properly.
      • Many residents of both licensed and unlicensed facilities suffer from dementia and may be given dangerous antipsychotic drugs to sedate or restrain them improperly
      • In 2009 the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes reported that 13% of all complaints to the California Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman involved abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation, over twice the national rate of 5%
    • The California State Department of Finance claims that the number of California residents age 85 and older – those who are most likely to need nursing homes — will nearly double by the year 2030, when the bulk of baby boomers will come of age.
    • In 2005, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development reported that one-fifth of California’s nursing facilities did not meet state-mandated requirements for staffing levels.
    • In 2006, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that twice as many of California’s 115,000 plus residents are placed in physical restraints as are nationally.
    • From 2001 to 2005, the California Department of Health Care Services, found that two-thirds of all reported deficiencies caused or could have caused significant harm to one of more residents in nursing homes. More than half of all complaints in nursing homes are related to poor quality of care. Eighteen percent of substantiated complaints were related to mistreatment or abuse.

Together, these staggering statistics and projections illustrate the urgent need to address and remedy the poor quality of care in many of California’s skilled nursing facilities.

Facilities Enforcement Team

The Facilities Enforcement Team investigates and prosecutes corporate entities, such as skilled nursing homes, hospitals, and residential care facilities, for adopting policies or promoting practices that lead to neglect and/or poor quality of care. Institutional neglect or substandard care includes:

  • Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs
  • Failure to attend to hygiene concerns
  • Failure to provide adequate staffing
  • Failure to prevent malnutrition and dehydration
  • Falsification of patient chartsThe primary goal of the Operation Guardians program is to help protect and improve the quality of care for California’s elder and dependent adult residents residing in California’s approximately 1300 skilled nursing facilities. The Operation Guardians team identifies instances of abuse or neglect for further investigation and possible criminal or civil prosecution by the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.
  • Operation Guardians
Fraud: 10/11 11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15
Criminal Filings 75 60 63 59 94
Convictions 58 46 35 32 56
Acquittals 3 1 0 0 2
Criminal Restitution $504,403 $279,228 $542,962 $180,017 $378,765
Civil Monetary Recoveries $6,145 $0 $0 $0 $0

 

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