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MPAS Sues Two Michigan Nursing Homes for Failing to Comply with Abuse and Neglect Investigation

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Novi, Fenton facilities failed to disclose requested documents and information

(LANSING)— Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) filed suit in federal district court today against the owners and operators of Whitehall Healthcare Center of Novi and Fenton Healthcare challenging their failure to disclose documents and information related to the abuse and neglect of patients residing in their nursing home facilities.

The case of abuse and neglect being investigated at Whitehall Healthcare Center of Novi stems from an incident in which staff did not provide life-saving measures to a resident who suffered a cardiac arrest despite having documented authorization to do so. This lack of intervention violated the patient’s plan of service as well as the policy of Whitehall itself. The patient subsequently died. Similarly, Fenton Healthcare failed to immediately initiate emergency medical services leading to the death of one resident and a risk of serious harm, injury or death for many others.

“The failure of these two facilities to provide our organization with the needed documents has interfered with our investigative duties,” said Mark Cody, Legal Director at MPAS. “Under federal law, MPAS acts to protect and advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities and our ability to do that is being hindered.”

Both instances of potential abuse and neglect were brought to MPAS’ attention through surveys conducted by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Bureau of Health Care Services. MPAS opened an investigation and sent letters requesting records to Whitehall and Fenton Healthcare. Whitehall replied two months later with a letter of denial while Fenton has yet to acknowledge the records request for approximately three months. Letters to legal counsel for both facilities, indicating that a complaint would be filed if they did not comply with MPAS’ requests, were responded to with a brief reiteration of their denial.

“This lawsuit should not come as a surprise to the owners and operators of these facilities,” said Brad Dembs, MPAS attorney. “They were given ample time to respond to our requests and avoid this particular course of action. Two people have died and many others were put in harm’s way. It is our federal responsibility to investigate the causes of these incidents in order to prevent such tragic outcomes in the future.”

 
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Posted on:
November 07, 2013