How to Report Elder Abuse or Elder Neglect in NJ

Filing a report with the State of New Jersey in the event of nursing home neglect is the first step in pursuing a claim for elder abuse.  The process is very simple and extremely helpful if you have considered taking legal action against the facility.

How It Works

When you call the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services,  a representative will discuss and document any problems or issues you are having with the particular nursing home facility.  Based on your information, an investigator will be sent to the facility within ten (10) days to investigate the claim.  The investigator will then review the patient’s chart, interview other patients in the facility and observe the general living conditions.  Based on their findings, the investigator will issue a letter stating the nursing home was either deficient or not deficient in their care according to state/federal laws.

How Does Filing a Report Help My Legal Case?

A report from the state detailing the neglect or abuse experienced by your loved one is a credible piece of evidence in proving your case.  The report may also uncover abuse or neglect that the family was not aware of at the time they made the claim.

Contact the NJ Department of Health And Senior Services:

To file a report, call 1(800) 792-9770.

Follow the prompts and press one (1) to file a complaint against a nursing home, hospital or assisted living facility.

 

Related Information:

New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

New Jersey Bedsores Lawyers

How to File a Hospital or Nursing Home Discharge Appeal With Medicare

If you believe that a Medicare patient is being inappropriately discharged from a hospital or nursing home facility, you must file the following procedure from the Department of Health and Human Services to appeal the decision:

Steps to Appeal Your Discharge:

Step 1:  You must contact the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) no later than your planned discharge date and before you leave the hospital.  If you do this, you will not have to pay for the services you receive during the appeal (except for charges like co-pays and deductibles).

  • Here is the contact information for the QIO: (800) 624-4557 or tty 1-(877) 486-2048
  • You can file a request for an appeal any day of the week.  Once you speak to someone or leave a message, your appeal has begun.
  • Ask the hospital if you need help contacting the QIO.

Step 2: You will receive a detailed notice from the hospital or your Medicare Advantage or other Medicare managed care plan (if you belong to one) that explains the reasons they think  you are ready to be discharged.

Step 3: The QIO will ask for your opinion.  You or your representative need to be available to speak with the QIO if requested.  You or your representative may give the QIO a written statement, but you are not required to do so.

Step 4: The QIO will review your medical records and other important information about your case.

Step 5: The QIO will notify you of its decision within 1 day after it receives all necessary information.

  • if the QIO finds that you are not ready to be discharged, Medicare will continue to cover your hospital services
  • If the QIO finds that you are ready to be discharged, Medicare will continue to cover your services until noon of the day after the QIO notifies you of it’s decision.

IF YOU MISS THE DEADLINE TO APPEAL, YOU HAVE OTHER APPEAL RIGHTS:

  • You can still ask the QIO or your plan (if you belong to one) for a review of your case:
    o If you have Original Medicare: Call the QIO listed above
    o If you belong to a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare managed care plan: Call your plan.
  • If you plan to stay in the hospital, the hospital may charge you for any services you receive after your planned discharge date.

For additional information, call 1-800-Medicare (663-4227) or TTY: 1-877-486-2048

Related Information:

Contact a nursing home abuse attorney

Supreme Court Decision Allows for Compensation

A March 4th Supreme Court decision has allowed juries to award damages for the harmful side effects of drugs, even if the drug had the proper FDA approved warning labels. This ruling comes in the wake of recent discovery that many drugs widely used on the market over the past decade were the result of falsified medical research.Thousands of cases against the makers of drugs like Vioxx, will now have a higher probabilty of settling, after the drug has been shown to cause serious heart related problems, as well as hinder bone growth.

If you or a loved one has had their quality of life decline due to the harmful side effects of a prescription medicine, then they may be entitled to compensation. Please contact an attorney immediately.

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New Jersey Senator Lends an Ear to the Victims of Insurance Company Tactics

“As far as Kia Moore is concerned, the health insurance system miserably failed her and her 20-month-old son. Xavier Hylton was born at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden with two malfunctioning kidneys and requires daily dialysis treatments as he awaits a transplant. He had grown enough to medically qualify for that transplant by March, but Moore said the procedure was delayed at least six months by a struggle over insurance coverage. Today, she said, her son should already have a functioning kidney and be on his way to living a near-normal life.” (Maryann Spoto, The Star-Ledger)

Last week, citizens of New Jersey who have fallen victim to the ruthless tactics of insurance companies were given time to fume their anger to US Senator Bob Menendez. The stories Senator Menendez would hear would appall him, and only add to his arsenal to bring to Washington with the hopes of sparking health care reform. Although invited, no representatives from the insurance agencies were present for the meeting.

“It’s no secret to anyone that our health care system is badly in need of reform,” Menendez said. “There are few things more important to the families in this state than fixing it, making sure in this great nation of ours that no one goes to sleep without health coverage, that no one has to choose between paying for heat in the winter and paying for medication that keeps them alive.”

Senator Menendez called the meeting in light of a new health care system proposal authored by Senator Max Baucus of Montana. Central to the Baucus proposal is the creation of a Health Care Exchange composed of a nationwide group of private insurance companies that would be prohibited from discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

Currently, under the existing set up, patients who visit emergency rooms due to lack of coverage end up being burdens of the tax payer. In Camden alone, more tha $460 million has been spent over the past five years on charity cases. Because the proposal would require every resident to obtain health insurance, it also provides for federal subsidies for families and small businesses unable to afford coverage through the exchange.

This new proposal has received the plaudits of Jeffery Brenner, a local Camden physician. Brenner advocates a system that brings those emergency room patients into the system for follow-ups so they can receive the appropriate care and are less of a financial drain on the system.

“Somehow we lost sight of the fact that the purpose of the home-care delivery system is to heal the sick, care for wounded and prevent illness,” he said. “It’s not to make physicians wealthy or pharmaceutical representatives wealthy or stockholders or insurance companies wealthy. The patient should be at the center of the system and indeed should be our top priority.”

Until serious reform has occurred however, the best ally a patient can have when dealing with their insurance carrier is an experienced attorney.

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THE RESEARCH RECESSION: 12 years of Anesthesiology progress in question

Over the past 12 years, anesthesiologist Scott Reuben revolutionized the way physicians provide pain relief to patients undergoing orthopedic surgery for everything from torn ligaments to worn-out hips. (Brendan Borrell, Scientific American)

Rueben’s drug studies were responsible for convincing orthopedic surgeons to move away from the first generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs to a new method, known as COX2 inhibitors. He claimed that these new drugs, made popular under the names Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra, in combination with anticonvulsants could be effective in decreasing postoperative pain and reduce the use of addictive pain killers, such as morphine, after surgery. What seemed to be a break through, Reuben’s findings were hailed as a great step forward in redesigning anesthesiology.

12 years later however, the profession is in a state of crisis after an investigation by the Baystate Medical Center revealed that at least 21 of Reuben’s papers were entirely made up, faking the beneficial results and in some cases, masking possible dangers. The investigation found that the data in these 21 studies had been partially doctored, and in some cases, entirely fabricated by Dr. Rueben.

Although this most recent investigation has brought the wall tumbling down for Dr. Rueben, signs of cracks had leaks had begun to rear their ugly head over the past five years. In the early part of the decade, orthopedic surgeons began to distrust Rueben’s COX2 inhibitors, when animal testing found that the drugs might actually hinder bone healing. Soon there after, in 2004, Vioxx and Bextra, and Celebrex were pulled from the market because of their link to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. All the mean time, Dr. Rueben continued to present positive “findings” for the use of these COX2 inhibitors in his research.

So, even with the public at risk, what motivated Dr. Rueben continue his campaign for these drugs? Simple. Money. It was discovered during the course of the Baystate investigation that Dr. Rueben’s research was entirely funded by Pfizer; the maker of both Celebrex, and the anticonvulsants lauded by Dr. Rueben’s study to be used in conjunction with the COX2 inhibitors. Baystate however could not find any records of the payments, suggesting that the payments were made not to Dr. Rueben’s research group, but instead directly to Dr. Rueben.

Although we may think of doctor’s as always having the best intentions, one must always remember the power of money. Pharmaceutical corporations are some of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, and they need doctors on their side. It is much easier today for these drug companies to pay off a doctor to get the results they need rather than go back to the drawing table and leave behind an unsuccessful product. Because of this, remember to always remain informed when consulting with your doctor about possible medication options. An informed patient is always the safest patient.

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