How to Report Nursing Home Neglect and Elder Abuse in Maryland
Suspect Neglect in a Maryland Health Care Facility?
Contact us at (410) 934-3988 to discuss your legal options
Whether in Maryland or elsewhere, long-term care facilities are supposed to provide an extra measure of security and support for your elderly loved ones. Unfortunately, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities do not always deliver on the promises they make. This is often because they suffer from staffing shortages. Overworked employees do not have enough time, energy, or patience to properly perform their duties. When factors like these are combined, neglect and abuse are more likely to occur—intentionally or not.
Uncovering evidence that a nursing home is abusing your loved one can be a shock. While you may be aware of Maryland’s mandatory reporting law for suspected elder abuse, it is very possible that you might not know how to go about making a report. Reporting abuse does not have to add any more stress to an already distressing situation. There is a plethora of resources available on state and local levels for you to utilize, and they are all there for one purpose—to help you or your loved one.
Our Maryland nursing home abuse law firm can help you expose elder abuse and report nursing home neglect to the appropriate Maryland agencies.
Reporting Elder Abuse in Maryland
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse to the Maryland Ombudsman
By law, every state must have a Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program. Regulated by Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, this program is responsible for advocating on behalf of residents in long-term care facilities and making sure they meet federal and state standards. If you are unsure where to report nursing home abuse, contacting the Maryland LTC Ombudsman is an excellent place to start. The State Ombudsman Program can be reached by phone at (401) 767-2161 or by fax at (410) 333-7943.
Adult Protective Services in Maryland
The state of Maryland offers several options for reporting nursing home abuse in addition to the state Ombudsman Program. Maryland Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates reports of financial exploitation in nursing homes but will typically not be able to intervene for residents of licensed facilities who suffer other types of abuse; however, APS agencies have the responsibility to cross-report any allegations of abuse to state agencies that can help. APS will respond to reports of suspected elder abuse that occur in the community, such as in apartments, private residences, or hospitals and can be reached at 1-800-332-6347.
Office of the Attorney General for Elder Abuse
The Office of the Attorney General, by contrast, has the authority to investigate and prosecute licensed long-term care facilities and can be reached by phone at 1-888-743-0023; this office heads an Elder Abuse Initiative in Maryland to reduce crime against vulnerable adults.
Maryland’s Office of Health Care Quality Investigates Reports of Nursing Home Negligence
Maryland’s Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) is a division of the Department of Health responsible for regulating licensing of long-term care facilities and is required to investigate all complaints in a timely manner.
To file a complaint with the OHCQ, call 1-877-402-8201. If your complaint concerns a licensed nurse, it may be beneficial to contact the Maryland Board of Nurses either by calling 410-585-1900 or filling out a complaint online and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The online form is available here.
Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
If the effects of nursing home abuse are severe and permanent, which they often are, taking legal action can be well worth the time and effort. However, it is vital to select a law firm that has extensive experience working cases like yours. Senior Justice Law Firm focuses nursing home abuse litigation and is committed to representing abuse victims and their families with dignity and professionalism. If you wish to utilize our narrowly focused law firm, give us a call for a free case consultation. When you partner with us, you are more than just your case.
Contact us at (410) 934-3988 to learn more about reporting elder abuse in Maryland.
How Do I Report Nursing Home Abuse in Baltimore?
Approximately 15.9 percent of Maryland’s 6,000,000 people are over the age of 65. This is certainly not an overwhelming percentage, which could explain why there are only about 230 nursing homes in the whole state. Ranked 21st in the nation for overall nursing home quality, individual facilities average three stars (out of five) for overall care quality. This does not mean all nursing homes provide average quality care—in fact, many facilities, even those with high overall ratings, have below average ratings in at least one of the subcategories used to determine overall scores.
Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore, has 593,490 residents; approximately 80,846 of these people are senior citizens. With 52 facilities in the city and its surrounding areas, Baltimore has the largest concentration of nursing homes in the state. Eleven of these nursing homes have paid a total of $1.2 million in fines over the past three years for serious deficiencies, and one facility, Canton Manor, has been flagged by the government as an SFF candidate. This happens when a nursing home has a history of serious quality issues. If chosen to participate in this federal program, the facility must show marked improvements and eventually graduate from the program—if it does not, it will lose its license, which often leads to permanent shutdown.
In addition to state-wide avenues for reporting abuse, the city of Baltimore has local resources to help support and protect its senior citizens. Maryland’s Ombudsman Program has an office in each of its 24 counties. Baltimore City, not to be confused with Baltimore County, is considered a county equivalent; this means Baltimore City and Baltimore County each have their own local Ombudsman Office. To report a nursing home in Baltimore City, call the Baltimore City Ombudsman office at 410-222-4464 or send a fax to 410-539-0978. Additionally, the Baltimore City Department of Social Services (DSS)—which houses the city’s APS agency—can be reached by phone for reporting purposes at 410-361-5000.
Let our Baltimore Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys assist you in exposing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.
How Do I Report Elder Abuse in Columbia, MD?
The city of Columbia is home to 103,633 people, 14,835 of whom are seniors. There are six long-term care facilities within a 10-mile radius of Columbia’s city center; two of these facilities, Lorien Health Systems and Vantage House, are in the city of Columbia itself. Lorien Health Systems is a larger, 205-bed nursing home. Despite its for-profit status, this corporate-owned facility has above average ratings across the board. On the other hand, Vantage House is a much smaller facility (44 beds) with an overall average rating. While this facility has an above average health inspection score, staff ratings fall much below average.
In the past three years, neither facility has been fined. The absence of fines, however, does not mean a nursing home provides top-notch care. Plenty of facilities go unreported for neglect or abuse, and state agencies cannot investigate licensed facilities outside of yearly inspections unless a complaint is filed. The city of Columbia falls within Howard County. To report a nursing home in the city of Columbia—or anywhere in Howard County—contact the local LTC Ombudsman Program, which is run out of the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence. Their phone number is (401) 313-6423. Faxes may be sent to (410) 313-6593 or (410) 313-6540. To notify your local Adult Protective Services office, contact Howard County’s DSS by either calling 410-872-8700 or sending an email to email@example.com.
Let our Columbia Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys assist you in exposing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.
How Do I Report Elder Abuse in Germantown?
The current population of Germantown is 90,844, making it the third largest city in Maryland. 7,374 of these people are over the age of 65. While there are no nursing homes in the city of Germantown itself, there are six facilities in the surrounding areas of the city. Unfortunately, half of these nursing homes have discouraging health inspection ratings. Four of these nursing homes in the Germantown area have paid a total of $285,474 in federal fines in the last three years. Because fines are inflicted on nursing homes for serious citations and for failing to address citations, they typically suggest systematic dysfunction, which often results in poorer care quality.
Germantown is in Montgomery County. To report nursing home abuse in Germantown to your local Ombudsman Program, contact the Montgomery County LTC Ombudsman program at 240-777-3369; faxes should be sent to 240-777-1242. Your local Montgomery County DSS office is another good resource at your disposal. Call them at 240-777-4531 to make a report.
Let our Germantown Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys assist you in exposing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.
Monitoring Care to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse in Maryland
The Department of Health and the Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) distribute and regulate licensing for Maryland’s nursing homes. The OHCQ is Maryland’s state survey agency. In other words, it monitors the quality of care in nursing homes by conducting inspections of each facility every 12 to 15 months—however, inspections can occur more often if a facility has a history of quality issues. A typical inspection will occur over several days and involve at least three inspectors (also called surveyors). These inspectors will review residents’ medical records, meet with residents, interview staff members, and observe the quality of care residents are provided. Inspections may be performed at any time and happen without informing the staff.
When the OHCQ receives a complaint, it must investigate within a certain number of days. If a complaint indicates that a resident is in danger of being immediately harmed, the OHCQ must investigate within 24 hours of the complaint. If harm has already occurred, the OHCQ has 10 days to investigate. Ultimately, all complaints must be investigated in a timely manner and may result in citations, fines, and facility shutdowns. Maryland law requires state residents report suspected abuse in long-term care facilities to the OHCQ. The OHCQ’s toll free phone number is 877-402-8221. A TTY line for those with impaired hearing can be reached by dialing 800-735-2258. Faxes may also be sent to the OHCQ at 410-402-8056.
Reporting Abuse in Long-Term Care Facilities in Maryland: Citations, Fines, and Licensing
Nursing home abuse can be a traumatizing experience. While many do not believe taking legal action is worth the hassle, 153 of Maryland’s 230 nursing homes are for-profit operations. Generally, for-profit nursing homes offer poorer quality care to their residents than non-profit operations. Because their goals are often profit-oriented, there is no better way to incite change than to penalize their profits.
The OHCQ’s Long Term Care Unit has the authority to inflict fines to penalize facilities that receive serious citations for severe deficiencies. If a facility does not correct less serious citations by a certain deadline, the facility will also be subjected to a fine. Overall, Maryland nursing homes have been fined a total of $8.54 million for citations and pay an average of $48,700 per fine, which is the ninth highest average amount in the nation. While state and federal fines are necessary for stopping cycles of nursing home abuse, these monetary penalties inflicted by the state do little to compensate victims of abuse.
Reach Out to Senior Justice Law Firm for Elder Abuse and Neglect Lawyers in Maryland
When nursing home facilities fail to provide the level of care they promise to residents, it can be a difficult road to recovery—in fact, the consequences of neglect and abuse often never fully go away for abuse victims and their families. It makes sense why some people feel uneasy about pursuing monetary damages against abusive nursing homes, as money cannot heal such hurt. There is, however, significant potential to effect change through legal action.
This does not mean it will be easy. On the contrary, it can be a long and complicated process for those who seek legal counsel from firms with no experience in nursing home abuse cases. This is one of the reasons why Senior Justice Law Firm is narrowly focused on elder abuse litigation—we seek to make the legal process as painless as possible for our clients because we understand that the trauma of abuse is already incredibly emotionally taxing. But we also firmly believe these are the cases we should fight the hardest to prevent their recurrence.
Contact us at (410) 934-3988 to discuss your case options in a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers are compassionate professionals determined to stop the cycles of nursing home abuse and neglect in Maryland and across the nation.