Does Your Loved One’s Nursing Home Have an Emergency Plan in Place?

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Madeleine Jones
April 23, 2018

an ambulance, nursing home neglect attorneyFederal law requires skilled nursing homes that are federally funded by Medicare and Medicaid to establish emergency plans with written evacuation procedures that protect patients from harm. If you or a family member was seriously injured in a nursing home accident, call a Las Vegas injury attorney at Cogburn Law Offices today for a free case consultation.

Is Your Loved One Safe?

Emergency evacuation plans are essential to protect the safety of nursing home residents and long-term care patients. Since many patients have physical and mental impairments, they are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries in emergency situations such as fires and natural disasters. Due to immobility issues, many patients must be transported on stretchers or in wheelchairs which significantly increases emergency evacuation times.

Skilled nursing homes that receive federal funding are required to have written evacuation plans in place for certification. If they don’t, they are subject to steep citations and fines, loss of certification, and loss of Medicare or Medicaid funding. State Medicaid programs are responsible for approximately 50 percent of all skilled nursing home costs, and Medicaid recipients account for up to 70 percent of skilled nursing home residents. Since the federal government pays for a large percentage of nursing home care, federal laws that govern patient care are very strict. Under certain provisions of the Social Security Act, nursing home emergency plans and procedures must be enforced. Nursing homes must train all facility employees, as soon as they begin work, in emergency procedures; hold regular procedure reviews with staff; and conduct random emergency drills on a regular basis.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) require skilled nursing homes and long-term care facilities to have the same emergency preparedness requirements as hospitals, with one important exception – nursing homes must track patients and on-duty workers during and following an emergency. Whether patients are sheltered in the existing facility or evacuated to another site, nursing homes are required to track and document activity and keep patients’ family members or representatives informed. Workers must accurately track patient locations and update changes in circumstances as they occur.

According to CMS, there were four times as many nursing homes in the United States as hospitals in 2017. Without a well-organized emergency plan in place, nursing home residents face much higher risks of injuries and fatalities in emergency situations, especially if they have to be evacuated to local hospitals or other facilities by emergency responders or transportation services.

If you have reason to believe your loved one has been mistreated in a Nevada nursing home, contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Las Vegas for a free consultation.