How do I file an Ohio Department of Health Complaint?

Nursing Home Negligence – The Ohio Department of Health Complaint.

Nursing Home Negligence resources (agencies, attorneys and websites) can be vast and vary in quality when you search the internet for help.  When a family member is injured or killed in a nursing home or assisted living, you want to know “what happened”. Determining what the facts that may have led to poor care and injury can be difficult.  Filing a Complaint with the Ohio Department of Health and a consult with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer is a good starting point for families looking for answers.

When to File a Complaint-

  • Assault: Physical assault can come from many sources: the nursing home staff, other residents, or even visitors. Every nursing home is required by law to provide a safe home. Specifically, federal regulations and the State of Ohio nursing home bill of rights state that “The resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.”
  • Pressure Ulcer/Bedsore: A client sits in my office and explains that his wife is in a nursing home. She planned to go just for rehabilitation after a knee replacement. But within weeks she had developed several bedsores. I’ve heard a similar story too many times: The cold facts are that 1 in 10 residents will develop pressure ulcers as a resident of a nursing home.
  • Falls: Many families make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility because of safety concerns due to a recent fall. We all expect that loved ones will be safe from slip and fall accidents in the nursing home. After all, they’re experts in caring for the elderly.
  • Wandering & Escape: There might not be a more frightening call for a family to get from a nursing home than this: “We can’t find your mother. She seems to have left the facility.”  One of the main reasons families turn to nursing homes to care for their loved ones is safety. Elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s often cannot appreciate danger, so they may wander or leave the facility unsupervised and unnoticed.
  • Malnutrition or Dehydration: When a loved one in a nursing home becomes malnourished or dehydrated, you should be very alarmed, as these serious conditions qualify as care home abuse and neglect.
  • Choking: Nursing homes present themselves to the community as experts in dealing with elderly residents and the conditions that affect them. The best practice is prevention or identification of risk factors. Every nursing home has a duty to assess all new residents; part of that assessment includes the ability to chew and swallow. Members of the caregiving team include nurses, a speech pathologist, a dietitian, and, of course, the resident’s physician. All of these professionals should be aware of the risk factors for difficulty swallowing.
  • Infection: What can residents and families expect from nursing homes, knowing the fatal risk that infections pose to your loved ones? Regulations require all nursing homes to have an infectious disease control program designed to “provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of disease and infection” (see 42 CFR § 483.65). At a minimum, every nursing home should have policies and procedures to identify risk factors for infection and interventions to reduce those risks. Many facilities designate a committee and often an individual nurse to track the incidence of infections in the facility.

This list covers only a few of types of abuse and neglect and are  reasons that you should call my office and file a Complaint with the Ohio Department of Health.  If something doesn’t seem right it probably isn’t.  This state  agency can often be a good starting point for answers.  Once most of the facts are known, a consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer is the next step. It is usually through a lawsuit that wrongdoers are held accountable.

How to File a Complaint: Online Or Over The Phone.

To reach the Ohio Department of Health please call 1-800-342-0553 or 1-800-669-3534 for the Home Health Hotline.  You may file a Complaint online at Ohio Department of Health Complaint.  As a nursing home abuse lawyer I am here to help you with this process.  My office can assist you with contacting the Ohio Department of Health and with completing your Complaint form.

Time Is Of The Essence.

When you suspect that your loved one is not receiving the proper care or worst case, they have been injured, or have died and you believe it’s the nursing home’s fault you need to act quickly.  A quick response to nursing home neglect or abuse helps preserve as many facts and as much evidence as possible.  In fact the Ohio Department of Health generally will not investigate matters that happened over a year ago.  “Facilities certified by CMS or licensed by ODH are routinely inspected approximately once per year to determine compliance with Medicare/Medicaid regulations and/or state laws. Therefore, authorizing an investigation is deemed not warranted. Surveyors can best investigate complaints which are more recent.” Ohio Department of Health Guide to Filing a Complaint.  Keep in mind though- even a year is much too long to wait.  In addition to Ohio Department of Health rules and regulations there are statutory time frames which are in place and limit the time you have to file a lawsuit against the responsible facility.

This ODH Complaint is so Important!

Though it may seem like abuse and neglect is obvious, facts must be gathered , evidence and  witnesses identified and records reviewed, in order to make the strongest case to hold wrongdoers responsible. There are many cases when the ODH findings are an integral piece of the puzzle.  In addition to the case specific report generated for a complaint there are annual surveys and the past 3 years of complaint history available for facilities through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. This history of past poor performance may be another important part of the investigation.

In addition, the Complaint Surveys help  the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid identify and share information as to poorly performing and downright dangerous facilities. They designate these poorly performing  facilities as “Special Focus Facilities” . For more information and a current list of the poorly performing nursing homes in Ohio, please visit my website,  Nancy C. Iler Law Firm LLC.

I am here to help from the beginning.  Make the call to my office and the call to the Ohio Department of Health.

My firm is small by design. It’s my name on the door. That means I’m selective about the cases I take so that I can personally work all aspects of your case: handling your lawsuit, interviewing witnesses, researching legal and medical issues, and engaging experts.

When you hire me it’s the beginning of a partnership.  Your case will not be handed off to junior attorneys or staff. Instead, I will be handing all aspects of your case. Your case is extremely personal. So is my work for you.

In the end, I believe that law is the great equalizer. It’s what allows individuals like you and me to stand on equal footing against professionals and corporations and their teams of lawyers. Together we can challenge them and hold them accountable for the harm that they cause.