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Resident Abuse & Neglect in Health Care Facilities

Statement from the Attorney General

WHERE CAN I GET RELATED INFORMATION?

WHAT IS CRIMINAL ABUSE & NEGLECT?

WHICH FACILITIES ARE SUBJECT TO INVESTIGATION?

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT CRIMINAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT?

HOW DO I CONTACT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AND INDUSTRY SERVICES?

WHAT ARE THE PATIENT'S OR RESIDENT'S RIGHTS?

 

WHERE CAN I GET RELATED INFORMATION?

 

Citizens for Better Care and State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
In mid- Michigan
6501 W. St. Joseph Hwy., Suite 211
Lansing, MI 48917
Phone: 517-886-6797
Fax: 517-886-6349
Toll Free: 800-292-7852
(Mon. -- Fri., 9:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.)

In Southeastern Michigan
Phone: 313-832-6387
Toll Free: 800-833-9548
(Mon. -- Fri., 9:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.)

 

Michigan Office of Services to the Aging:
611 W. Ottawa, PO Box 30676
Lansing, MI 48909-8176
Phone: 517-373-8230
(8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.)

 

Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service:
106 W. Allegan, Suite 300
Lansing, MI 48933-1706
Phone: 517-487-1755
Toll Free: 800-288-5923

 

Adult Protective Services
Family Independence Agency
Office of Adult Services

235 S. Grand River Ave., Suite 501
Lansing, MI 48909
Hotline: 800-99-NOABUSE or 800-996-6228

or refer to your telephone book under County Government, Family Independence Agency, Adult-Children Protective Services for local telephone number.

 

Health Care Financing Agency (HCFA):
Internet: www.medicare.gov

 

Federal Trade Commission
Toll Free: 877-ID-THEFT or 877-438-4338

 

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Dear Friends:

 

Those Michigan residents who are confined to nursing homes, recuperating in a home for the aged, or in need of adult foster care are among the most vulnerable and defenseless members of our society. Too often, however, these residents have suffered criminal abuse and neglect at the hands of those charged with caring for them.

 

I've made defending and protecting the rights of these citizens one of my highest priorities as Attorney General. My Health Care Fraud Division has the responsibility to investigate and prosecute criminal abuse and neglect in all residential health care facilities, but we need your help to prevent the abuse before it starts.

 

The information in this pamphlet addresses the most frequently asked questions about abuse and neglect, identifies key legal rights of vulnerable adults, and provides appropriate contact resources for the families of residents in Michigan health care facilities.

 

Together we can make a difference for our loved ones, and insure that those who abuse and neglect them are brought to justice.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL


WHAT IS CRIMINAL ABUSE & NEGLECT?

 

Criminal abuse and neglect falls into four general categories. Here are some examples of each.

 

Harmful Neglect

A resident of a nursing home or residential health care facility may be suffering from harmful neglect if they experience:

  • suspicious or questionable injuries or death;
  • unexplained substantial weight loss or severe dehydration;
  • painful bedsores.

Assault and Battery

Assault or battery is committed if an employee of a nursing home or residential health care facility:

  • threatens or strikes a resident;
  • uses unauthorized physical or chemical restraints.

Criminal Sexual Conduct

This occurs when an employee of a residential healthcare facility or nursing home:

  • engages in unlawful sexual contact with a patient.

Embezzlement/Theft

Embezzlement of a resident's funds occurs when a nursing home or residential health care facility employee:

  • wrongfully removes funds from a resident's account;
  • improperly obtains a financial "loan" or "gift" from a resident;
  • employee uses privileged/personal information illegally to obtain credit cards, etc., resulting in identity theft.
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WHICH FACILITIES ARE SUBJECT TO INVESTIGATION?

 

Any resident and/or patient receiving treatment or care in a residential health care facility is entitled to the protections detailed in this brochure. The following are examples of facilities in which this office has jurisdiction to investigate criminal abuse and neglect.

  • Nursing Homes
  • Hospital Long-Term Care Units
  • Homes for the Aged
  • County Medical Care Facilities
  • Adult Foster Care Facilities
  • Assisted Living Facilities

How Can I Protect My Loved One From Abuse & Neglect?

  • Don't make your visits predictable.
    Visit frequently, and at different times on different days.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions about care.
  • Check for bedsores, unexplained bruises, and sensitivity to pain.
  • Note the cleanliness of the residents and the facility.
  • Check for weight loss and/or dehydration.
  • Keep a small journal for notes after visits.
  • Take your camera. On each visit, have your photo taken with your loved one and date it.
  • Report any suspected abuse.
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WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT CRIMINAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT?

  1. Immediately report the incident, verbally or by letter, to the facility's administrator, director of nursing, charge nurse, social worker, or the facility's designated patient advocate.
  2. Immediately report the incident to my office, the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services, the Michigan State Police, and/or the local police or sheriff's department.
  3. Obtain photographs of the physical injury and make a written statement detailing:
    • WHAT you observed;
    • WHAT you observed;
    • WHEN you observed it;
    • WHO was present, and;
    • ANY other information that may be of assistance to an investigator.

Noncriminal abuse or neglect to a residential facility resident, or any regulatory/quality of care issue, should be reported to the facility administration AND to the Michigan Department of Consumer & Industry Services.

 

Private Home If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, contact the Family Independence Agency, County Protective Services or your local law enforcement agency.

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HOW DO I CONTACT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AND INDUSTRY SERVICES?

Department of Attorney General

Health Care Fraud Division
PO Box 30218
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-6515
Email: hcf@michigan.gov
Hotline: 800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873)
Website: http://www.michigan.gov/ag

 

Department of Consumer and Industry Services

Bureau of Health Systems
Complaint Intake Unit
PO Box 30664
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-334-8473
Hotline: 800-882-6006

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WHAT ARE THE PATIENT'S OR RESIDENT'S RIGHTS?

  1. A patient or resident shall not be denied appropriate care on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, marital status, sexual preference, or source of payment.
  2. An individual may obtain a copy of, or inspect his/her medical records, and a third party shall not be given a copy without authorization of the patient except as required by law and third party contract.
  3. A patient or resident is entitled to privacy, to the extent feasible, in treatment and caring for personal needs with consideration, respect, and full recognition of his/her dignity and individuality.
  4. A patient or resident is entitled to adequate and appropriate care and to receive information about his/her medical condition, proposed treatment and prospects for recovery, unless medically contraindicated by the physician in the medical record.
  5. A patient or resident is entitled to receive and examine an explanation of his/her bill. Also, he/she is entitled to know who is responsible for, and who is providing, his/her care.
  6. A patient or resident is entitled to associate and have private communication with his/her physician, attorney or any other person, and to send and receive personal mail unopened, unless medically contraindicated. A patient's or resident's civil and religious liberties shall not be infringed and the facility shall encourage and assist in the exercise of these rights.
  7. A patient or resident is entitled to be free from MENTAL and PHYSICAL ABUSE and, except as authorized by a physician, or as necessitated by an emergency to protect the patient, free from physical and chemical restraints.
  8. A patient or resident is entitled to retain and use personal clothing and possessions as space permits. At the request of a patient, a nursing home shall provide for safekeeping of personal property and funds, except that a nursing home shall not be required to provide for the safekeeping of property which would impose an unreasonable burden on the nursing home.
  9. Each nursing home patient shall be provided with meals which meet the recommended dietary allowances for the patient's age and sex and may be modified according to special dietary needs.
  10. A nursing home, its owner, administrator, employee, or representative shall not discharge, harass, retaliate or discriminate against a patient because a patient has exercised rights protected by law.

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    The Michigan Public Health Code
    [PARTIAL LIST as provided by statute, MCL 333.20201;
    MSA 14.15(20201)]

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