The Department of Justice will build a network of regional task forces to protect seniors from "grossly substandard care" in nursing homes.
The Elder Justice Task Forces will coordinate and improve efforts to pursue nursing homes that provide substandard care. The task forces will include representatives from the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, state Medicaid Fraud Control Units, state and local prosecutors' offices, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), state Adult Protective Services agencies, Long-Term Care Ombudsman and law enforcement.
"Millions of seniors count on nursing homes to provide them with quality care and to treat them with dignity and respect when they are most vulnerable," says acting associate attorney general Stuart F. Delery in a press release. "Yet, all too often we have found nursing home owners or operators who put their own economic gain before the needs of their residents. These task forces will help ensure that we are working closely with all relevant parties to protect the elderly."
The Elder Justice Task Forces are part of the department’s larger efforts to protect seniors through the Elder Justice Initiative. The 10 task forces will be launched in the Northern District of California, Northern District of Georgia, District of Kansas, Western District of Kentucky, Northern District of Iowa, District of Maryland, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Tennessee and the Western District of Washington.
"The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) continues to pursue nursing home operators who provide potentially harmful care to residents who are often unable to protect themselves," says Chief Counsel to the Inspector General Gregory Demske of HHS. "Creating these task forces sends a message to those in charge of caring for these beneficiaries that grossly substandard care will not be tolerated."