As we all know, abuse and neglect are rampant in the industry. Skilled nursing facilities are also required to notify federal and state agencies of potential abuse and neglect. Allowing facilities to self-report and then refusing to punish them when they cover up incidents increases the likelihood that abuse and neglect will continue. Reports of nursing home staff slapping patients, calling them names, and leaving them in their own filth all day are made to law enforcement but are not reported to state and federal agencies obligated to investigate.
NBC26 I-TEAM compared police reports at PruittHealth nursing home with federal reports over the same 12-month period. What they uncovered is reports going to law enforcement are often for “information only” whatever that means. For example, one resident called the police after laying in his own waste and filth for over 9 hours but the report is listed as “info only” and the officer immediately closed the case. It was never investigated as neglect. There was no investigation.
The news is shocking because neglect is a punishable offense like abuse. Staff is required to report those allegations to law enforcement. In fact, a staff member called police after Glenn made a similar complaint about lying in his own waste for too long the previous year. Staff member stated she “wanted the incident documented.” But like the other one, this was listed as information only — not neglect.
We looked 12 months of police reports. In one report, a nurse allegedly hit and slapped a patient with pressure sores. It’s listed as a medical complaint. In another, an employee allegedly berated a patient, calling her “ugly ugly” while taking picture to show her just how ugly she is. It’s information only, too.
More than half of these 28 reports are information only.
Federal complaint investigations were compared with local police reports. None matched each other. This isn’t just a local problem. Last year, the inspector general determined nursing homes across the country aren’t reporting potential neglect and abuse. Nursing homes are graded partially based on these investigations. Every agency is looking at the other agency to investigate.
Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly (CAVE) made its first nursing home arrest last year. CAVE operates on the Georgia side. South Carolina has no such task force.