Sample Verdicts & Lawsuits Against Consulate Health Care Nursing Home
Consulate Health Care is one of the largest nursing home chains in the State of Florida and is a major national company. It has a long history of regulatory violations and has weathered many accusations of poor care for the residents of its facilities. Its nursing homes across the country routinely receive poor marks on their federal inspections with a high number of violations noted. There have been a number of large lawsuits against Consulate Health Care that have been filed.
Consulate’s homes have been in the news recently, especially in Florida. One of its facilities recently received a 20-year ban from receiving Medicare reimbursements. This is an extreme measure that is taken only after repeated health citations are issued. Medicare will usually work with a nursing home for several years before it takes the drastic step of removing it from the entire program. Consulate has also had to negotiate an agreement to spare more of its homes in Florida from meeting the same fate.
As of this writing, Consulate is the sixth largest nursing home chain in the country. It controls just over 210 nursing homes. It has approximately 22,000 beds in its facilities that are spread over 21 states. There are 77 nursing homes in Florida and Consulate controls one out of every nine nursing homes in the state. Consulate’s revenues in 2016 were approximately $1.7 billion. In Florida alone, the nursing home received approximately $225 million in reimbursements from the federal government.
Like many nursing home chains, it is owned by a private equity fund. This model has proven to be disastrous for patient care whenever it has been employed. Specifically, private equity companies have been known to slash staff in order to increase the returns on their investment. Much of what nursing homes do depends on having adequate staff. When there is not adequate staff at a nursing home, functions such as bathing the residents and shifting their positions are not performed. This leads to infections and untreated pressure ulcers.
In addition, the private equity owners engage in related party transactions that increase their profits while draining the balance sheet. The owners will then use debt as a justification for further decreasing staff at the nursing home. In Consulate’s case, its homes pay large management fees to another related company as well as rent for the homes that are owned by a separate related real estate company.
There have been numerous media reports about the conditions at Consulate’s nursing homes. One such expose, published in the USA Today, detailed shocking revelations about the chain’s nursing homes. One resident was at the facility for a year to purportedly rehabilitate from an accident. The nursing home was reported to have neglected the resident and did not give him the therapy that they were being paid by the federal government to provide. By the time the resident was discharged, he was addicted to painkillers and died several years later of a drug overdose. Another resident lived in a room that was infested with ants and roaches and also did not receive the rehabilitation care that she was supposed to receive.
The chain has been the target of numerous regulatory actions and lawsuits against Consulate. The lawsuits against Consulate have been in some of the following areas:
- Lawsuits for failure to prevent and care for pressure ulcers
- Lawsuits for injuries resulting from falls
- Lawsuits alleging neglect and failure to provide treatment
- Lawsuits alleging abuse
The regulatory actions has come from the State of Florida. Many have alleged that Florida was lax in its regulation of Consulate for many years. Given the number of nursing homes that Consulate controls in the state, some have speculated that Consulate is “too big to fail,” meaning that if regulators are too tough on the company, it could go out of business and leave Florida with a shortage of nursing home beds in the state. There have been numerous media reports of patient harm, including death, that did not result in any regulatory action against the nursing home.
Specifically, a Consulate Nursing Home in Lakeland, FL was forced to close after it was removed from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The Oakbridge Healthcare Center had already paid a large fine to Medicare and entered into a settlement agreement. There were six deficiencies that resulted in actual harm to a patient. The state also denied the nursing home’s license renewal application.
Previously, it had been reported that 55 of Consulate’s 77 nursing homes were in litigation with the State of Florida to keep their licenses. Consulate entered into an agreement with the state that its nursing homes would not be held responsible for Oakbridge’s violations so long as eight of its homes were placed on a two-year improvement plan. Under the terms of the agreement, if any of these eight homes has a deficiency that leads to death or a hospitalization of a resident, Consulate would have to sell the home to a new owner.
Here are some of the lawsuits that Consulate has faced:Lawsuit Against Consulate for Abuse
2015 – Lawsuit Filed in Virginia – The lawsuit alleged that a woman was beaten in a nursing home by a fellow resident who had dementia. The male entered the resident’s room, shut the door, got on top of her and began to beat her. The woman was hospitalized with cuts and heavy bruising. The lawsuit alleged that the resident’s health deteriorated after that and she died eight weeks after the attack so the complaint was for wrongful death. The lawsuit claimed that the nursing home could have prevented the attack, but there were only two nurses working on the night of the attack and the staff on hand was not properly trained.Lawsuit Against Consulate for Inadequate Staffing
2015 – Lawsuits filed in Florida – There were several wrongful death lawsuits filed against Consulate. Like the above lawsuit, the lawsuits alleged the staffing level of the Consulate nursing home was a factor in the residents’ deaths. The lawsuit claimed that Consulate continued to admit more patients even though it did not have adequate staffing to care for the patients that it already had.Lawsuit Against Consulate for Failure to Provide Treatment
2016 – Lawsuit filed in Maryland – The plaintiff claimed that nursing home staff and physicians failed to diagnose and treat a urinary tract infection. The woman was confused and lethargic for several weeks and the facility allegedly did not test her urine until the family insisted that it do so. The resident was eventually admitted to the hospital in septic shock and was malnourished with a lack of kidney function. The resident died after two weeks in the hospital. The lawsuit alleged that the facility was inadequately staffed with poorly trained nurses.Lawsuits Against Consulate for Negligence
Lawsuits filed in Florida – There was a media report that detailed cases brought against one particular Consulate nursing home. This home was sued for negligence 23 different times over a ten year span. 18 of the suits involved some sort of wrongful death allegation.Was Your Loved One Mistreated at a Consulate Health Care Nursing Home? Get Legal Help Now
The attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center have years of experience in dealing with nursing homes such as Consulate Health Care, who cut staffing in an attempt to maximize their profits. We have seen the injuries that this can cause and we know how to help you and your family take legal action against the nursing home where your loved one was injured. Call us today at (800) 726-9565 to set up your free, confidential no-risk case assessment where you can have an initial discussion with us about the facts of your case. We can help you figure out if filing a legal claim against the nursing home is a viable course of action.