May 24, 2013
In an attempt to find all nursing homes in Atlanta that are failing their residents, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (AJC) found a nursing home with many instances of nursing home abuse that has slipped through the system for several years.
According to AJC, the reason that the Bethlehem, Georgia nursing home hasn’t been caught yet is because as an unlicensed facility it doesn’t have regular inspections that nursing homes funded by Medicare and/or Medicaid have. Investigative journalists, however, uncovered a series of abuse. For example, several residents were burned with curling irons, beaten down with belts, locked in basements, and forced to use buckets instead of regular toilets. In addition, their pension and public assistance checks were stolen.
Although personal homes are still required to undergo inspections and possess a valid license to operate, many of these facilities operate “under the table” and DCH has no idea they even exist. Known as rogue operators, the owners and managers of these types of nursing homes usually have poor quality care and a series of abuse and neglect issues.
Because of the severity of the recent abuse, the state of Georgia will have a new law starting July 1 that will impose more serious penalties on these facilities. Before, owners found operating a nursing without a license would have a month to get one. Now, however, the new law mandates that the first offense with operating without a license will be a misdemeanor charge, and a second offense will be a felony. The state will also be allowed to immediately impose fines on unlicensed facilities.
Additionally, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) now has permission to investigate unlicensed nursing homes. However, without the funding from the state, a warrant has to be issued for each nursing home before an investigation can begin.
To report abuse in Atlanta, witnesses, loved ones, and/or concerned citizens should call the Healthcare Facility Regulation at 1-800-878-6442 or Adult Protective Services at 1-888-774-0192.
If you or a loved one have been victim to nursing home abuse, an experienced attorney may be able to assist you. At McIver Brown Law Firm, our leading Georgia nursing home abuse lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you have a successful chance in winning your case. Give us a call today for a free consultation.