If you feel that a loved one died or was seriously injured due to a nursing home’s neglect one of the first things you should do is contact your state’s Department of Health. Most states have a number, fax, email, or online complaint form you can fill out to report nursing home neglect.
In Pennsylvania you can call the Department of Health at 800-254-5164, fax 717-772-2163, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an online complaint form with the Department of Health here: http://www.health.pa.gov/facilities/nursinghomes/Pages/Complaints.aspx#.WwL1eUgvwdU
Likewise in New Jersey you can file online or call the complaint hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-792-9770.
A Department of Health professional will then listen to or read your complaint and determine if the nursing home violated the regulations it must follow under the Nursing Home Reform Act. If so, the Department of Health will conduct an investigation, known as a survey, of the home. During a survey a person, such as a registered nurse, experienced with the Nursing Home Reform Act regulations will review records and conduct interviews of the nursing home’s management and the nurses caring for your loved one. If the survey shows the nursing home and its staff violated federal and state regulations in caring for your loved one, the Department of Health will cite the nursing home and impose various penalties. These penalties can include requiring a plan of correction so the negligent care does not happen again, monetary fines, or even suspension of the nursing home’s operation if the violations warrant it. Not only can this investigation help prevent the deficient care your family member or loved one experienced at the nursing home in the future, but it also can be the first step in determining if you have a civil case against the nursing home for negligent care. If a nursing home was cited by your state’s Department of Health for deficient care of your family or loved ones, the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to talk to you at 215-568-6800.