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Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe is home to two Medicare-certified nursing homes, and both suffer from low ratings as a result of understaffing, poor quality of care, and health violations. Nursing home residents deserve a safe, supportive environment and a reasonable standard of care. A Santa Fe nursing home abuse lawyer at Levin & Perconti can help if you or your loved one has been mistreated at a Santa Fe nursing home.

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Both of Santa Fe’s Medicare-certified nursing homes are rated much below average by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This rating is based on the quality of care, health inspections, and staffing as compared to nursing homes nationwide. In addition to numerous health and quality deficiencies, Santa Fe nursing homes suffer from chronic understaffing, a significant risk factor for nursing home abuse.

Santa Fe New Mexico

Why choose Levin & Perconti for your nursing home Abuse Lawsuit?

Levin & Perconti has stood up to nursing homes for more than three decades and is one of the most highly respected nursing home abuse law firms in the country. We have the experience and resources to stand up to large, powerful nursing home corporations. We consistently achieve remarkable results for our deserving clients, including the following:

  • $4.1 million record-breaking jury verdict for an 85-year-old woman injured when a nursing home mismanaged her medications
  • $2.7 million jury verdict for a 67-year-old man who died from complications from a fall at a nursing home
  • $2.3 million settlement for the family of an 88-year-old assisted living facility resident who died from complications arising from infected bedsores, a case that also resulted in the indictment of the doctor
  • $1.5 million settlement for an 87-year-old nursing home resident who suffered severe burns when placed in a scalding sitz bath

Nursing home companies have vast resources to refute the claims of deserving individuals, and you will need the assistance of a law firm with the resources, experience, and knowledge to fight them. Our New Mexico elder abuse attorneys refuse to back down until we get the justice you deserve.

What constitutes nursing home abuse?

The New Mexico Department of Health defines abuse in a health care setting as “any act or failure to act performed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly that causes or is likely to cause harm to a resident.” This includes the following:

  • Harmful physical contact
  • Inappropriate use of restraints and isolation, including chemical restraints
  • Misconduct that is likely to cause physical or psychological harm
  • Unlawful or threatening conduct that is likely to result in fear or distress

Nursing home neglect and financial exploitation also constitute abuse. The state defines neglect in a health care setting as the grossly negligent failure to do the following:

  • Provide necessary treatment, care, services, or medications
  • Take reasonable precautions to protect residents’ health or safety
  • Supervise or control treatment and care

Financial exploitation is defined as the intentional or reckless use of a resident’s property for personal profit without legal authorization to do so.

Nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation may be perpetrated by nursing home staff, contractors, visitors, or residents. Regardless of the source, Santa Fe nursing homes have a legal obligation to protect residents from abuse.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse Cases Levin & Perconti Handles in Santa Fe

The Santa Fe nursing home abuse attorneys at Levin & Perconti take on cases involving the mistreatment of nursing home residents in Santa Fe, including the following:

Nursing Homes in Santa Fe County

The two Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities in Santa Fe County are Casa Real and Santa Fe Care Center.

Casa Real

Casa Real is a 118-bed for-profit skilled nursing facility that has been cited for 52 deficiencies, including one infection control deficiency, according to ProPublica. The facility has paid $118,000 in fines and had one Medicare and/or Medicaid payment suspension. This one-star facility has below-average scores for health inspections and staffing and a much below-average score for quality of care.

Santa Fe Care Center

Santa Fe Center is a one-star facility with 85 total deficiencies, including four infection control deficiencies. This facility has been fined $139,000 and had Medicare and/or Medicaid payments denied at least twice. Staffing at this facility is much below average.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

The signs of nursing home abuse and neglect may be obvious and physical, but in some cases, the signs can be more subtle, with no physical evidence. Your loved one may even attempt to hide the abuse from you. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), elders often do not report abuse for the following reasons:

  • Inability due to physical or cognitive limitations
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Fear of being placed elsewhere
  • Shame or embarrassment

Signs of Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse

If you notice any of the following symptoms, your loved one may be experiencing nursing home abuse:

  • Unexplained skin injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Unexplained burns
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Injuries in the genital area
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal from activities previously enjoyed
  • Weight loss
  • Disclosure of abuse

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

The effects of nursing home neglect can be as dangerous and life-threatening as overt abuse, potentially resulting in the following:

Signs of Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Financial exploitation can be devastating, resulting in the victim’s assets being liquidated and sold or disposed of without their knowledge or consent. If you notice any of the following, financial exploitation may be occurring:

  • Unexplained cash withdrawals from bank or credit accounts
  • Unexplained credit card use
  • Fraudulent signatures on financial information
  • Unfamiliar power of attorney
  • Sudden refusal by the nursing home to allow you to see your family member

New Mexico Laws That Protect Nursing Home Residents

Numerous state laws have been enacted in an effort to curtail nursing home abuse. However, these laws have not been sufficient to rein in abuse.

Incident Management and Reporting

The Department of Health Act requires health care facilities to establish an incident management system to prevent abuse and provide annual employee training on timely reporting of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and other reportable events.

During state investigations, facilities must provide surveyors with full access to records, residents, and family members. Nursing homes must complete an investigation and provide a follow-up report of each allegation to the Department of Health within five days of the initial report.

Fines and Penalties

Under 7 NMAC 1.8, skilled nursing facilities are subject to fines and penalties for health and safety violations. Fines include a base fine to serve as a deterrent and a daily fine until the deficiency is corrected. The daily fine is meant to encourage speedy remediation. Fines for repeat offenses may be doubled. Daily fines may be as high as $5,000.

Pre-Employment Screening

Under 7 NMAC 1.9, New Mexico health care facilities must screen employment candidates through a state and nationwide screening process, including fingerprint screening through the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This must be completed within 20 days of employment.

Health care providers must deny employment to applicants with disqualifying convictions, which include certain violent felonies and a history of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an older adult or minor.

Employee Abuse Registry

Health care providers must add employees who abuse residents to the statewide employee abuse registry within two business days of allegations being substantiated, according to 7 NMAC 1.12. During pre-employment screening, employers must check the registry and deny employment to candidates listed on the registry.

What to Do if You Suspect Abuse in a Santa Fe Nursing Home

If you suspect nursing home abuse, it is always better to err on the side of caution and take action. It will be the responsibility of the state agencies to investigate and substantiate abuse or rule it out.

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Santa Fe

If you suspect abuse in a Santa Fe nursing home, you can report the abuse to multiple agencies, including the following:

If you suspect your loved one’s safety is in immediate jeopardy, call 911.

How Levin & Perconti Can Help With Your Santa Fe Nursing Home Abuse Case

When you hire a Santa Fe nursing home abuse lawyer at Levin & Perconti, we will conduct a detailed investigation of the abuse and relevant medical records. We work with the nation’s leading medical experts and private investigators to ensure we build the strongest case possible.

If you need help reporting the abuse, we can help you file the appropriate reports and keep your loved one safe. Contact Levin & Perconti today to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are answers to questions we frequently receive about nursing home abuse lawsuits in Santa Fe.

It is important to contact an experienced Santa Fe nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible after you become aware that your loved one has experienced abuse. Your attorney will need access to evidence as soon as possible, especially evidence that may disappear over time, such as bruising.

The New Mexico statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years. While this may seem like sufficient time, preparing a case against a large nursing home provider requires significant discovery before the case may be filed.

Nursing home abuse cases vary in value depending on the extent of the injuries and nursing home abuse or neglect. You may be able to recover the following damages in a nursing home abuse case, depending on the individual factors of your case:

  • Economic damages – Compensation to cover documented financial losses, such as medical expenses and the cost to transfer to another nursing home
  • Non-economic damages – Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages – Non-compensatory damages awarded as a punishment against the nursing home for grievous conduct

Medical malpractice liability in Santa Fe falls on any health care provider whose failure to honor a duty of care results in an injury. This is known as negligence, and liable parties may include one or more of the following:

  • The nursing home owners
  • The nursing home operators
  • Any business affiliated with the nursing home
  • Doctors
  • Therapists
  • Nursing staff
  • Employees
  • Contractors

How much does it cost to hire a Santa Fe nursing home abuse attorney?

At Levin & Perconti, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that your attorney’s fees are deducted from the final verdict or settlement amount. In other words, it will cost you nothing unless your case is successfully resolved. This prevents financial limitations from standing in the way of justice.