Report: Nursing Home Abuse May be Under-Reported

On Tuesday, one state's Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes released a report suggesting budget cuts may have weakened the state's ability to investigate elder abuse cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Last fall, the state's government cut funding for the nursing home ombudsman program. The action reduced the program's budget by nearly $4 million in federal funds.

The budget cuts led the program to cut staff positions in many areas of the state. Lower staffing levels has resulted in cutting back on inspections of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

In fiscal year 2010, the ombudsman program's budget is slated to increase to $5.7 million, which still $2.2 million less than the budget in 2008 before the cuts were made.

Since last year's budget cuts took effect, the number of complaints filed by the ombudsman program has declined by more than 40%, according to the Senate report. The report's authors warned that the drop in complaints could indicate that some elder abuse cases are going unreported despite state regulations which require ombudsmen to report all abuse cases. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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