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Elder Abuse Lawsuit: Woman Accuses Nursing Home Of Unnecessary Drugging In Order To Take Over Social Security Payments

Elder Abuse LawsuitVery disturbing allegations have surfaced in a nursing home negligence lawsuit filed against a California nursing home by a former patient at the facility.  Marsha Davis has filed a lawsuit against Country Villa of Seal Beach alleging that the facility improperly gave her psychotropic medications (Ativan) without a prescription in order to take over her social security payments.

If proved to be true, this is undoubtedly a form of elder abuse both in terms of the inappropriate drugging as well as the misappropriation of the woman’s finances.

According to Medicare regulations applicable to nursing homes: each resident’s drug regimen must be free from unnecessary drugs and define what is considered an unnecessary drug. An unnecessary drug is any drug used:

  • In excessive dose
  • For excessive duration
  • Without adequate monitoring or without adequate indications for its use
  • In the presence of adverse consequences, which indicate the dosage should be reduced or discontinued
  • Without specific target symptoms

When nursing home surveyors conduct their inspections of facilities and confirm unnecessary psychotropic drug usage they may issue one (or more) of the following F-tags that are used to confirm care violations in survey reports:

  • F-Tag 329 is cited for all unnecessary drugs including: anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, and hypnotic drug use.
  • F-Tag 330 is specific to anti-psychotic drug use in residents who do not have a specific condition as diagnosed and documented in the medical record
  • F-Tag 222 is cited for inappropriate chemical restraints

With respect to the misappropriation of personal funds, similar the federal government has enacted similar safeguards with respect to protection of patient funds.

F-Tag 158

§483.10(c)(1) Protection of Resident Funds

The resident has the right to manage his or her financial affairs, and the facility may not require residents to deposit their personal funds with the facility.

F-Tag 159

§483.10(c)(2) Management of Personal Funds

Upon written authorization of a resident, the facility must hold, safeguard, manage, and account for the personal funds of the resident deposited with the facility, as specified in paragraphs (c)(3)-(8) of this section.

§483.10(c)(3) Deposit of Funds

(i) Funds in excess of $50. The facility must deposit any residents’ personal funds in excess of $50 in an interest bearing account (or accounts) that is separate from any of the facility’s operating accounts, and that credits all interest earned on resident’s funds to that account. (In pooled accounts, there must be a separate accounting for each resident’s share.)

(ii) Funds less than $50. The facility must maintain a resident’s personal funds that do not exceed $50 in a non-interest bearing account, interest-bearing account, or petty cash fund.

Use of f-Tags in nursing home litigation

As a nursing home lawyer, I frequently use the compilation of ‘f-tags’ to help in the prosecution of my nursing home abuse cases.  While the regulations may appear to be fairly complex– and they can be— they can be especially helpful in establishing the standard of care with respect to different aspects of case provided at nursing homes.

Learn more about the laws applicable to California nursing homes here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in San Diego , Los Angeles and San Francisco

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries:

Study Demonstrates Correlation Between Under-Staffing & Incidence Of Infections In Nursing Homes

Medicare Standards Require Nursing Home Patients To Be Transported Safely

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