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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.

Death of Austin Nursing Home Resident Spurs Investigation, KVUE Discovers Widespread Neglect

Patricia Small - Friday, July 25, 2014

In 2010, Kathy Lee placed her mother in Austin Retirement and Nursing Center, KVUE reports. A few months ago, she received a call from an ICU nurse. Her mom was in the hospital. Within hours, 86-year-old Sadie Brasch was dead. 

According to the KVUE article, the Department of Aging and Disability Services launched an investigation after receiving a complaint lodged after Brasch's death. In February, DADS released a report that found Austin Retirement and Nursing Center put as many as 86 residents with dementia at risk. In addition, the nursing home has been cited more than 100 times over the past few years for multiple reasons. 

KVUE reports that the nursing home did not consult a physician despite a worsening in Brasch's condition, and did not even know Brasch had died until Lee told them. The DADS report determined that many more patients were also put at risk of illness and death due to delays in notifying a physician. According to KVUE, Ben Marks, the administrator for Austin Retirement and Nursing Home, the center does not agree with the state's findings and is appealing the claim that their facility is out of compliance.

Although the nursing home has been fined $16,500 since 2008, only about half of that has been paid, KVUE reports. In fact, KVUE discovered that Texas nursing homes rarely pay initial state fines because state law allows DADS to reduce fines if nursing facilities pay early and promise to correct violations. 

This is a loophole that state Senator Charles Schwertner of Georgetown hopes to correct. 

"That needs to be closed, and those penalties need to be serious penalties and not just seen as the cost of doing business," Schwertner tells KVUE. 

For more information, see the full KVUE report

Texas Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect on the Rise

Patricia Small - Thursday, May 29, 2014

KVUE, ABC's news broadcast channel in Austin, recently did an in depth investigation into a nursing home neglect case. The story reported that the state failed to follow the appropriate procedures in response to a possible sexual abuse case. 

Another recent article by KVUE cited that incidents of abuse and neglect are increasing in Texas. According to the article, DADS is hesitant to terminate contracts with nursing homes despite clear violations of state policies. 

KVUE spoke to a family that uncovered blatant elderly abuse by nursing home staff members by placing a hidden camera in their grandmother's room. Although those staff members recorded abusing the resident were fired, the facility's contract with the state was not terminated. 

See the full story here

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