Medicare regulatory federal tags can help prove nursing home neglect or abuse
Many Missouri and Illinois families are unfamiliar with Medicare regulatory federal tags and how they can help prove nursing home neglect or abuse in their loved one’s case. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established various federal regulations that nursing home staff members must abide by when delivering care to nursing facility residents. These regulations are gathered into a book formally known as the Long Term Care Survey, or Watermelon Book (so-called for its off-red color), which the American Health Care Association publishes and most if not all nursing home administrators and directors use on a regular basis.
These Medicare regulations related to nursing homes contain certain numbered federal tags, also referred to as “F-tags,” which detail the rights of nursing facility residents and responsibilities that nursing homes bear in providing care to their residents.
The ten most commonly-cited F-tags include:
1. F-tag 222: Restraints;
2. F-tag 223: Abuse;
3. F-tag 279: Comprehensive care plans;
4. F-tag 314: Pressure sores;
5. F-tag 315: Urinary incontinence;
6. F-tag 317: Range of motion;
7. F-tag 325: Nutrition;
8. F-tag 327: Hydration;
9. F-tag 353: Sufficient nursing staff;
10. F-tag 501: Medical directors responsible for all clinical care;
Another important F-tag is number 309, which governs the quality of care and requires nursing facilities to take the steps needed to ensure that residents attain and maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. This tag also contains language dictating that nursing staff should take appropriate steps to recognize and manage a resident’s level of pain. Unfortunately, the biggest reason that nursing homes fail to provide this quality of care is that corporate owners often regard profits more highly than patient safety. To that end, they often engage in patterns of deliberate understaffing which can result in residents being injured. In the most egregious of cases, death can result due to the failure of nursing homes following the guidelines set out by these Medicare F-tags.
In the event that victims of nursing facility neglect or abuse who suffer personal injury wish to pursue a claim against a negligent nursing home, these F-tags can form a significant part of a case. Medicare and Medicaid regulations require a certain level of care from nursing facilities that accept payments under these programs. A nursing facility that agrees to accept these payments in exchange for providing adequate services to residents — but then fails to appropriately provide those services — can be held negligent for personal injury that is a direct result of the facility’s understaffing and/or negligence.
Corporate greed should not outweigh resident health and safety. We can help victims of nursing facility neglect or abuse use Medicare regulatory federal tags to prove that they were injured due to a nursing home’s failure to follow appropriate guidelines. A successful claim can result in monetary damages being awarded to victims and their families, including expenses for medical care, funeral costs in the event of death and even pain and suffering compensation in certain cases.
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Source: “Also Featured: Mark your nursing home case with F-tags” by David R. Cohen. August 2009, Volume 45, No. 8.