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Video of NY Nursing Home Abuse Brings Lawsuit

NY officials moved last Thursday to shut down two upstate New York
nursing homes after releasing a report based on hidden cameras --
cameras OK'd by relatives of the elderly people confined there.

Arrests involved employees of the Jennifer Matthew
Nursing Home in Rochester and the Northwoods Nursing Home in
Cortland. In addition, Spitzer leveled civil charges against the
primary owner and operator of the Rochester facility, Anthony
Salerno, and a consulting company he owns called Healthcare

New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer said he is trying to recover
state Medicaid funds for care that he argues wasn't provided. He said
the home has received $10 million in Medicaid funds over the last
several years.

"Very often the problem we encounter in abuse cases and neglect cases
in the nursing home context is that you have an infirmed or frail
witness whose testimony is set up against, often, more powerful and
compelling witnesses on the other side," Spitzer told reporters. "And
often those witnesses who want to testify about neglect and abuse
often feel intimidated because they have been in, and often continue
to be in, the home where the abuse occurred," Spitzer said. "This is
a new paradigm, in a way, for prosecution of these cases."

The hidden cameras found a patient in the Rochester home
and other residents hadn't been repositioned to avoid bed sores and
were often left for hours to lie in their own urine and waste. He
also said medications and treatments were not provided as prescribed.

Staff had moved call bells away from patients and stopped doing their
rounds so they could socialize, watch movies, sleep or leave the
building, Spitzer said. (Read HREF="http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--nursinghomeneglec0105jan05,0,230137.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork"
TARGET="new">AP story from Newsday

Problems uncovered at these two nursing homes are likely just the tip
of the iceberg. And too often nursing home operators get only a slap
on the wrist. What will happen to owners of these facilities remains

"We are in active settlement negotiations with the attorney general,"
said David Lenefsky, attorney for the facility. "We were obviously
shocked and disappointed by those former 14 staff members who were
arrested." He said, however, that the 140 other workers provide
excellent care and the facility meets or exceeds all government
staffing levels.

An HREF="http://www.newsinferno.com/storypages/01-07-2006%7E002.html"
TARGET="new">extensive story
by NewsInferno.com's Steve DiJoseph
includes excerpts from the Attorney General's report.

TARGET="new"> Hidden Cameras Reveal Neglect At Nursing Homes
(Press Release, Office of The NY Attorney General -- includes links
to report and legal papers filed (PDF files))

TARGET="new">Nursing home's future in doubt: Matthew center closure,
new operator may result from talks
(Rochester Democrat &

TARGET="new">Disturbing Findings by Attorney General's Office
Emphasize the Need for Families of Nursing Home Residents to be
Vigilant and Aware of the Signs of Neglect and Abuse