March 08, 2016
Laurie Kash's experience with her mother's poor care at a nursing home led her to take her case the New York State Comptroller's Office. The Office performed a subsequent audit that called for improvements in the enforcement of nursing home violations.
Laurie Kash's mother was admitted into a New York nursing home for temporary care, yet just three weeks later she had become a paraplegic. Kash's mother was injured because of a fall that occurred when a nurse failed to follow a physician's order detailed in her care plan. Her consequent neurological deterioration and pain were dismissed. By the time her paralysis was diagnosed, by a family member who was a heart surgeon, her spinal cord injury was irreparable. She spent the remaining three years of her life in the nursing home, confined to a wheelchair.
Kash filed a complaint with the New York Department of Health (DOH), but after six investigations, the DOH dismissed most of the concerns. Kash and her family filed a lawsuit against the facility and implored the state to act, but the DOH took no significant action. Kash took the case to the New York State Comptroller's Office along with advocates at Long Term Care Community Coalition, NY Statewide Senior Action Council, New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment, and the Gray Panthers, and the Comptroller agreed to perform an Audit and Policy Analysis of DOH's Nursing Home Oversight agency. (The last such analysis was administered in 1999.)
The State Comptroller’s Office’s report found that nursing homes were often cited repeatedly for problems with limited consequences and nursing home fines were delayed for up to six years. It called for improvements in the enforcement of nursing home violations. Recently Laurie Kash, along with representatives of the advocacy organizations identified above, spoke at the Comptroller’s press conference regarding the audit. Read the report, watch a video clip of the press conference and learn more about Ms. Kash’s story here.