Baby Boomer Generation Dominates Senior Health Care System

According to a new report from the United Health Foundation, the next generation of senior citizens – the baby boomer generation – will be sicker and more expensive than previous generations. The report examines the current health status of individuals between the ages of 50 and 64, and compares it to individuals of the same age range back in 1999. On the whole, however, the results are not positive for the future generation of senior citizens.

To be more specific, the report reveals that there will be about 55% more senior citizens with diabetes in 14 years than there are now, and about 25% more who will be obese. On the whole, the next generation of senior citizens will be nine percent less likely to say that they have excellent or good overall health. These statistics indicate that the health care costs of these individuals will skyrocket, having serious implications for the finances of this generation. For example, health care costs for diabetics are about 2.5 times higher than for non-diabetics. Medicare will end up bearing the bulk of these costs, which, in turn, will pass on to American taxpayers.

Despite these drawbacks, the report held some good news for the health of America. Individuals who are currently between the ages of 65 and 80 have better health overall than individuals of the same age three years ago. These individuals are also much less likely to smoke than previous generations. Concerns about obesity and diabetes, however, did largely overshadow the results of the report.

With the baby boomer generation stretching the limits of the existing senior healthcare system, you need to ensure that the facility you choose properly cares for your loved one. When that facility fails to provide your loved one with an even basic level of reasonable care, it is likely that negligence occurred, which may make that facility liable for the resulting injuries. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses that you or your family member has suffered. Call our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys at Boller & Vaughan and learn what we can do for you and your family.

 


Feds Crack Down on Social Media Abuse in Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is the federal government office that regulates nursing homes, issued a memo to all state health departments recently concerning the usage of social media to abuse residents. The memo instructed that all nursing homes and long-term care facilities should have policies in place that prohibit staff members from taking demeaning or disparaging photographs of residents and then broadcasting them on social media. This crackdown on social media policies comes on the heels of documented incidents nationwide of staff members posting pictures on social media of nursing home residents, who were often naked, in embarrassing conditions, or even deceased, or being abused in some manner. Since 2012, there have been at least 47 instances of social media abuse of residents by nursing home and assisted living facility workers.

The memo advises that not only should all facilities have specific policies in place, but they also should have procedures by which managers can swiftly investigate and discipline workers who abuse the relevant policies. The goal of the new policies should be to treat all residents with respect and dignity, and allow them to live out the remainder of their lives without being dehumanized on social media. Those nursing homes who fail to comply with the recommendations in the CMS memo could be subject to citation, fines, and even termination from the Medicare program.

Furthermore, Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on other federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights, to take steps to resolve this problem. He also contacted social media outlets in hopes of generating additional coverage of this important issue.

Individuals who suffer injuries at the hands of the healthcare providers who are supposed to care for them may have valid legal claims for damages under Wisconsin law. The Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan know how to stand up for the rights of those who have been injured, and how to hold nursing homes and other healthcare facilities financially responsible for their actions. Call us today at (608) 268-0268 and set up an appointment for us to assist you with your legal needs.


WI DHHS Investigates Waupaca County Veteran’s Home

The Capital Times recently reported on its investigation into the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King, which is Wisconsin’s largest state-run, skilled nursing facility. More than 25 current and former employees, residents, and their family members uniformly reported inadequate and in some cases, neglectful care for elderly veterans with multiple physical and mental ailments.

The investigation linked the home’s deficits to the fact that although operating the facility brings in millions per year in federal funds, the state uses only a portion of those funds in order to operate the facility, choosing to use the excess funds elsewhere in the state budget. As a result, chronic understaffing and a drive to further cut costs has caused the neglect of those whom the facility is meant to help. For instance, the facility currently has almost $39 million in surplus revenue, yet staffing levels at the facility continue to fall. According to the state, the surplus funds are put back into the state homes and used to create other programs to benefit veterans. However, pictures of the facility and comments by anonymous King employees tell a much different story, one in which repairs are never made and problems are never remedied.

The state of Wisconsin claims that it has consistently received four and five-star rankings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is better than many other long-term facilities in the state. However, critics point out that much of the data used to create these rankings is self-reported, meaning that there is no state or federal oversight of the information that the facility itself provides.

At Boller & Vaughan, we are the nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers who pride ourselves on representing the rights of those countless individuals who suffer injuries due to the wrongful behavior of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities. A situation involving a loved one who has suffered preventable injuries can be overwhelming and difficult to handle. Allow us to handle the legal aspects of your situation, while you and your loved one focus on healing from the injuries suffered. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.

 


STEADI Initiative and Healthcare Providers

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control recommends that nursing homes and other healthcare providers that deal with older individuals follow the STEADI initiative, which stands for “Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries.” By adopting these guidelines, healthcare providers can substantially decrease the risk of older individuals falling and suffering serious injuries.

STEADI focuses on older Americans, or those who are aged 65 and older. Since over 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 each day, this is not an insignificant or isolated problem. Rather, at this high rate of growth for this demographic, the incidence of falls is likely to continue to claim, thus resulting in a greater number of serious injuries and high costs to treat fall-related injuries. The STEADI initiative recommends that healthcare providers identify and classify patients who are at high, moderate, and low risks of a fall, identify factors contributing to falls that can be modified, and offer effective interventions for those older individuals at risk.

STEADI includes an algorithm specifically designed to assess the risk of falls and the need for intervention with respect to a patient. Part of this assessment includes a medication review, which helps determine if the individual is medicated in such a manner that he or she is at a greater risk of falls. Finally, STEADI recommends that clinicians assess the level of Vitamin D in each patient, as a lack of this vitamin can adversely affect bone, muscle, and nerve health.

The STEADI initiative reminds healthcare providers that some situations that create increased risk factors for older Americans falling are easily modified. For instance, exercises to improve strength, gait, and balance all can help these individuals avoid the serious injuries that often result from falls. Likewise, proper vision correction and appropriate footwear, both of which are easy to change, can be very important to preventing falls.

The Wisconsin long-term care abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan know how to protect your loved ones’ rights. Our law firm handles these cases on a regular basis and is experienced in advocating on behalf of clients just like you. We are here to help you fight back against the healthcare facility that caused harm to your loved one, and to get any compensation to which you are entitled.


Traffic Safety and Pedestrians on Halloween and Other Holidays

As the holiday season is upon us, this is a good time to discuss the most common, specific situations that can result in danger to pedestrians. For instance, during the recent Halloween celebration, which typically consists of community-wide trick-or-treating and related events, pedestrians are at a particular risk for injuries due to traffic accidents. The combination of excited and impulsive children walking the streets, sometimes unsupervised, darkness, and traffic is not a good mix in terms of pedestrian safety. All too often, evenings such as these can result in unexpected tragedies.

Likewise, pedestrians can be at increased risk over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The mixture of parties, alcohol, poor judgment, high levels of traffic, and in some areas of the country, winter weather, can be downright deadly. Bars tend to overflow with reunited relatives and old friends visiting home for the holidays, particularly on so-called “Thanksgiving Eve,” or the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, kicking off the most-traveled holiday of the year. The darker winter months and shorter days often mask pedestrians leaving bars, stores, and other familiar destinations, and leave them particularly vulnerable to traffic. Individuals also may dress in darker, less visible clothing during winter months. There tend to be more intoxicated drivers around the holiday season, which pose a further danger to pedestrians.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has compiled data supporting the increased dangers to pedestrians – and other drivers – during the holiday season. More specifically, between 2001 and 2005, an average of 36 fatalities per day occurred as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. During the Christmas season, however, an average of 45 fatalities per day occurred due to crashes with drunk drivers, and that number again rose dramatically to 54 fatalities per day during the New Year’s holiday.

Personal injury claims can be complex, and, consequently, difficult for injury victims to understand and process. Having a skilled and experienced injury on your side to help you navigate the legal system is an essential piece of obtaining compensation for your losses. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.


What You Need to Know About Falls

Every year across the United States, millions of individuals aged 65 and older fall. More than one in four of those individuals fall each year, but many fail to report their falls to their doctor. While a fall might not seem like a very big deal, it can result in both serious and costly injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every five falls results in a serious injury, such as a broken bone, and emergency rooms end up treating more than 2.8 million older individuals for fall-related injuries each year, with about 800,000 of those individuals being hospitalized.

The most common types of injuries that older Americans sustain from falls are hip fractures and head injuries, by far. In fact, at least 300,000 older individuals are admitted to hospitals each year after suffering hip fractures. The direct medical costs of all of these fall-related injuries amount to $31 billion each year. Two-thirds of these costs are from hospital care costs.

Some falls simply are not preventable, but other falls are definitely preventable, simply by addressing some of the major risk factors. Nursing homes and other healthcare facilities should encourage residents to keep active, work on walking and balancing activities, and avoid becoming weaker, which can lead to more falls. Similarly, facilities should provide wide, unobstructed hallways with handrails, which also can help prevent falls. Finally, ensuring that all residents have proper footwear and glasses to help with vision can go a long way toward preventing falls.

At Boller & Vaughan, we know firsthand just how dangerous falls can be, particularly with respect to the most vulnerable patients who are frail and residing in healthcare facilities. If your family member has suffered neglect that has led to injuries from a fall, we are here to protect your rights and represent your interests, no matter what issues the case may involve. Our law firm has the experience that you need in a case such as this, so that you can explore all of the options that are available to you, and decide what legal avenue to pursue. Call the Wisconsin nursing home neglect attorneys today at (608) 268-0268 and schedule a free appointment.

 


Appeals Court Reverses on Exemplary Damages, Attorney Fees in Elder Theft Case

A three-judge panel for the District III Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in a case involving a woman who stole from money from her late uncle while serving as his caretaker prior to his death. The estate’s representative noticed suspicious activity on the uncle’s bank accounts, and was able to determine that the niece/caretaker has stolen the funds. The uncle’s estate then filed an action against the niece in small claims court, seeking $10,000 in damages, which is typically the statutory limit on damages in small claims court. The circuit court below ordered the niece to pay more than $50,000 in damages and fees to the uncle’s estate, which consisted of $10,000 in actual compensatory damages, $20,000 in exemplary damages, $20,000 in attorney fees, and almost $2,000 in double costs. However, the niece appealed, and the appellate court disagreed with the lower court’s ruling, cutting the damages award to about $6,000.

First, the appellate court found that the estate could only receive exemplary damages in a trial by jury, rather than by the court, as occurred in this case. The court also found that the misappropriation of funds claim filed in small claims court was a tort claim, rather than a civil liability theft case. Therefore, the estate was limited to the small claims cap of $5,000, rather than the $10,000 that the judge had awarded. Likewise, since the appellate court so drastically reduced the damages award in this case to $5000, the estate was not entitled to double statutory costs because its damages award was less than its previously offered settlement amount of $7,500.  Finally, since there was no specific provision to authorize an attorney fees award in this type of litigation, the appellate court overturned the attorney fees awarded by the lower court in this case.

If your loved one has suffered financial abuse at the hands of medical staff at a nursing home or another healthcare provider, you may have a valid claim for damages. This sort of situation makes it essential to contact an experienced Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorney in order to protect your rights and obtain the financial relief that you deserve. Healthcare providers have an obligation under the law to refrain from financially exploiting those whom they are supposed to be protecting. Hold negligent Wisconsin healthcare providers responsible for their actions. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how we can help you.

 

 


Common Questions About Personal Injury Claims

At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison injury attorneys handle hundreds of personal injury cases each year from victims all over Wisconsin. Our clients come to us looking for answers on how personal injury cases work. To help those in our local communities, we’ve pulled together a list of the most frequently asked questions we are asked. Continue reading


What is Wisconsin’s Caregiver Law?

Wisconsin’s Caregiver Law was enacted in order to provide protection for particularly vulnerable individuals in regulated settings, such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other long-term care facility. Under this law, individuals who are responsible for the direct care, safety, and security of adults and children must undergo periodic background and criminal history checks. Furthermore, the law requires that covered entities, such as nursing homes, investigate and report incidents of misconduct, including abuse and neglect.

In the case of a nursing home, the principals, license holders, and/or operators of the home are subject to a certain level of background check, and employees who provide direct care to residents are subject to another level of background check. Employees or contractors must undergo a background check at the time of hire, and every four years thereafter.

Generally, employees must complete a background information disclosure, and employers must follow up on that information in order to determine that it is correct. The background information disclosure completed by each employee must be kept on file by the employer and be readily available at all times. Employers run background checks through local law enforcement agencies. There is an extensive list of criminal offenses that make individuals ineligible for employment at a nursing home, if convicted of one or more such offenses within the prior five years. There are other criminal convictions for lesser offenses that do not necessarily bar employment, but do require additional investigation on behalf of the employer before hiring the employee.

At Boller & Vaughan, suffering abuse or neglect by those who are supposed to be taking care of you, such as your close family member, can be both physically and emotional painful. We are here to take some of the burden off your shoulders by allowing us to pursue any legal claims that are available to you and work toward much-needed and much-deserved compensation. As skilled Madison nursing home neglect lawyers, we are here to help you through this ordeal from a legal perspective, while you concentrate on healing yourself and your family by receiving the proper care and moving forward with your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How Can I Pay for a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?

When a loved one suffers serious or fatal injuries while under the care of a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you may not know where to turn first. You might not be sure that your loved one was injured or died due to abuse or neglect at the hands of the nursing home staff, or you may not know if or how you should pursue legal recourse in your situation.

The best thing for you to do in this situation is to contact Boller & Vaughan for a free evaluation of any potential personal injury or wrongful death claim that you may have on behalf of your loved one. We are happy to sit down with you and go through the facts of your situation in detail, as well as evaluate your ability to pursue a successful claim. We will present all options that are available to you and make sure that you understand the pros and cons of each option. It is only then that you will be able to make informed decisions about your case.

Your initial consultation with us is always free of charge. Furthermore, we don’t expect you to pay a large retainer fee up front in order to obtain our legal services. Rather, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless and until you receive compensation in your claim for damages, you will not have to pay any legal fees to our law firm. Essentially, we don’t get paid until you get paid for your losses

The experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you and your loved ones through the aftermath of abuse and neglect experienced by some of the most vulnerable members in our society. No matter how grave the injuries or death of your loved one may be, we can look into the facts and circumstances surrounding your claim, evaluate your likelihood of recovery, and determine the best path to follow in any legal claims that you may have. We know how to build a strong case of abuse and neglect against those who were charged with caring for you loved one. Take a moment to contact our office today and schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you or your loved one may have.

 


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