Are Veterans Knowingly Placed in Harm’s Way at Texas Nursing Home?

A Texas news station, KRIS 6 News, has recently wrapped up an investigation into whether veterans are knowingly placed in harm’s way at a Texas nursing home.  According to the investigation, the U.S.  Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has continued to place veterans in The Palms Rehabilitation and Nursing in Corpus Christi despite a series of complaints and poor inspections.

If you have a loved one who is a veteran and who may need the care of a nursing home, read on to learn more about this potentially dangerous situation and how you can protect your loved one.  To learn more about your legal rights, contact Brown & Brothers.

VA Contracting with Poorly-Rated Nursing Homes

Deciding that it is time to consider a nursing home is never an easy choice for families caring for an elderly loved one.  For families of veterans, it is common to trust the guidance of the VA when choosing a nursing home.  Unfortunately, not all of the nursing home options available through the VA are up to par.

In 2014, The Palms was subject to an unannounced visit from the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services.  State officials were forced to intervene after that visit due to the poor health conditions of patients, including several suffering from dehydration or risk of infection.  The Palms was fined $188,000.  During the same period in 2014, the VA renewed a 5-year contract with The Palms, and continued to place veterans in the facility.  Why?

Reports of negligence or complaints against The Palms did not directly involve veterans, so the VA continued to place veterans in the facility despite being aware of the complaints.  According to the VA, the reports they were getting from veterans in The Palms were mostly positive.  Some veterans choose not to report neglect or care problems because they are afraid of retaliation.  The VA coordinator visits contracted facilities six times every year in unannounced visits, but the information gleaned from residents isn’t always representative of what is really going on inside.

A Pattern of Neglect

There are a few patterns of neglect at The Palms that are gaining attention now that KRIS 6 News has investigated.  Reports include:

The attention placed on the neglect reports at The Palms has also prompted the VA to take action.  A statement issued in May 2017 stated that the VA would be providing more nursing home options in Corpus Christi for veterans.

Protecting Your Loved Ones

Not only is making the choice to place a loved one in a nursing home difficult, but it is also often difficult to choose a nursing home.  Whether your loved one is a veteran relying on help from the VA, or you are doing all the groundwork yourself, you don’t have to settle for the first nursing home you explore – and you shouldn’t.  Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right nursing home:

Once you have made a choice of nursing home, be mindful that the exploration and monitoring of your loved one doesn’t have to stop there.  If at any time you notice unusual or suspect behavior by staff or other residents, or suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you have options to get help.  Not only can you file a report or complaint with the nursing home itself, you can also file complaints with Medicare, the VA, Ombudsman, or Adult Protective Services (APS) if applicable.

Protecting Your Legal Rights

In addition to filing complaints, many people also find it helpful to contact an attorney to discuss their legal rights and that of an elderly loved one.  Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem, and your loved one deserves to have his or her legal rights upheld.  To learn more about protecting the rights of your loved one, contact Brown & Brothers today to schedule a free case review with one of our skilled nursing home abuse attorneys.  Fill out our online form to get started.