Nursing Home Thieves Steal Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on Oct 31, 2013 in Nursing Home News
According to the Center for Disease Control there are more than 16,000 nursing homes in the United States with the majority being 86 percent occupied. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million elderly residents in nursing homes according to a 2004 National Nursing Home Survey.
Each year hundreds of people entrust nursing home personnel with their loved ones well-being. Although nursing home abuse and negligence is one problem loved ones must watch for, now thievery must be added to that list.
An investigation by USA Today found that since 2010 state and federal inspectors issued more than 1,500 citations to nursing homes for their mismanagement of trust funds and failure to protect funds from theft.
Nursing home trust funds are similar to bank accounts, except that they are handled by the nursing home facility for each elderly resident. The trust funds are similar to conventional bank accounts as they accrue interest and statements are made available. Furthermore, social security and pension checks are typically deposited into a residents account along with any money sent by guardians and relatives. The resident can actually tap into the account to pay for care and incidentals.
Unfortunately nursing home workers are also turning to these trust funds for their own needs. According to the investigation by USA Today more than 100 employees were prosecuted for stealing money and 30 percent of these cases involved the theft of tens of thousands of dollars. Approximately 10 cases involved thefts of more than $100,000 and one man was accused of stealing more than $160,000.
A majority of ombudsmen surveyed by the nationwide newspaper believe that tighter oversight is needed to control the problem. Although nursing homes are generally regulated, when it comes to trust funds surveyors tend to rely on what they hear from residents and personnel. Typically assessments are more focused on resident health and safety, but they should also be focused on protecting an elderly residents finances. The failure to notice and cite mismanagement of trust funds means that it can take months, and even years, for anyone to notice the issue.
Anyone who has a loved one in nursing home facility should make sure they are receiving monthly statements of their loved ones trust fund as well as copies of any receipts for purchases made on their behalf.
If you believe that a loved ones trust fund is being mismanagement or embezzled, contact one of our experienced nursing home negligence lawyers to determine what your legal rights are at 1-888-821-0247.