How to Make a Complaint Against an Ohio Nursing Home
Nursing homes are regulated. Virtually all nursing homes in the state of Ohio receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid. As a result, they are overseen by the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health comes out approximately once a year and performs what is known as an Annual Survey of each nursing home. If there are problems with the nursing home, the nursing home is cited. The nursing home must then file a Plan of Correction. If that Plan of Correction is accepted, the nursing home must then follow through with that Plan of Correction. The next time the nursing home is surveyed, the problems must be resolved. If the nursing home does not file a Plan of Correction in response to a citation it can be shut down. Further, the Ohio Department of Health can shut down any nursing home that it does not feel is providing appropriate care to its residents.
If you go to www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare you can look for nursing homes either by name, or by geographic location. You can also find out if those nursing homes have had prior citations. Once you identify the nursing home on the nursing home profile page, there is a tab for, “Inspections and Complaints.” This provides some information about prior inspections and prior citations.
Another good source of information on nursing homes is http://ltc.ohio.gov/NursingHomes. This is the website for the Long-Term Care Consumer Guide. Push the button for, “Click Here to Search for Nursing Homes.” You can then insert the name of the nursing homes you are looking at and review past citations and past survey results.
In addition to Annual Surveys, any time there is a complaint about a nursing home, the Ohio Department of Health will send a surveyor to the nursing home to investigate the complaint. If someone you love has been abused or neglected in a nursing home and you are making a complaint, you should work closely with the Ohio Department of Health to provide them with whatever information they need. Oftentimes, we at The Dickson Firm have observed surveyors from the Ohio Department of Health going to various nursing homes, and if the resident who is the subject of the complaint is not at the nursing home, often the Ohio Department of Health surveyor does not find neglect. Also, the Ohio Department of Health will not investigate complaints made more than a year after the subject incident. Therefore, if you have a complaint about the nursing home, you should make that complaint promptly.
If you have enough of a concern about a nursing home to make a complaint to the Ohio Department of Health and your loved one is still at the nursing home, you should think sincerely about moving your loved one to another nursing home. If your concerns are significant enough to make a complaint or contact an attorney, then you should think seriously about moving your loved one to another nursing home where you have more confidence in the care they are receiving.
Ways to Make a Complaint in Ohio
Click here to see a number of different options to make a claim against an Ohio nursing home.
The first option is online. Go to the Ohio Department of Health Website at Ohio Department of Health Complaints: Health Care Facilities and Nursing Homes Ohio Department of Health Website. On our Ohio nursing home complaint page, you will see the Department of Health mailing address. You can write your complaint in writing and mail it to the department of health mailing address. You will also see two different toll free phone numbers. You can call and make your complaint by phone. You will see a fax number. You can fax your complaint to the Ohio Department of Health. You will also see an email address where you can email your complaints.
In your complaint, be as specific as possible. Include dates and times if possible. Include names of individuals who are involved. If there are key documents relative to your complaint, you could attach those if you make your complaint by mail, facsimile, or electronic mail. Describe your complaint in as much detail as possible.
Thereafter, follow up on your complaint. Find out what the ultimate disposition was of your complaint. See if anything was done. Using the websites listed above, you can track the complaint that was made against the nursing home and see what the response was. You should also get written confirmation from the Ohio Department of Health regarding your complaint.
If your complaint is unresolved, you can call us at The Dickson Firm at 1-800-OHIO LAW and speak with attorney Blake A. Dickson. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you with the complaint process to the Ohio Department of Health.
You complaint should trigger a complaint survey. Thereafter, they may substantiate your complaint or not.
If your complaint involves injury to a nursing home resident, or the death of a nursing home resident, then you may have a civil cause of action against the owners and the operators of the nursing home who caused your loved one harm. If you think you may have a case against the owners and the operators of the nursing home where your loved one was a resident, you can contact us at 1-800-OHIO LAW as we would be happy to discuss your case.
Ohio Department of Aging Long-term Care Ombudsman
One final suggestion is the Ohio Department of Aging Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs. If you go to http://aging.ohio.gov/services/ombudsman you will find that section of the Ohio Department of Aging website that deals with the Ombudsman Program. Ohio’s office of the state Long-term Care Ombudsman advocates for people receiving homecare, assisted living care, and nursing home care. Paid and voluntary staff work to resolve complaints about services, help people select a provider and other information about benefits and consumer rights.
Ombudsmen work with nursing homes, residents and families to resolve problems and concerns. Ombudsmen advocate a person centered approach to meet the needs and honor the preferences of their clients. Ombudsmen link residents with services or agencies, offer advice on selecting long-term care providers, inform consumers about their rights and provide information and assistance with benefits and insurance. Twelve regional long-term care Ombudsman Programs safeguard consumers of care services in their areas. There is a link on the page indicated above where you can click to find a program serving your community. You can also call the state office at 1-800-282-1206 for assistance.
There is also a link to the long-term care consumer guide on this website which is an interactive resource that includes information about nursing homes and residential care facilities in Ohio such as size, location, services offered, customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, performance measures and more. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, and you are unable to move them, and yet you have a complaint about the nursing home, contacting the Ombudsman Program may be your best option.
If you have any questions about nursing home care please feel free to call the attorneys at The Dickson Firm at any time at 1-800-OHIO LAW. Ask for Blake Dickson. We would be happy to talk with you.