New Mexico Senior Healthcare Abuse Attorneys
Representing Healthcare Abuse Victims
Financial abuse of the elderly may involve draining resources of individuals, families, businesses, and public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, as stated in a U.S. Department of Justice publication. While financial abuse may involve a variety of fraudulent acts and individuals involved, healthcare abuse specifically involves financial fraud with regard to the medical treatment and care for a nursing home resident. Healthcare abuse of the elderly occurs when doctors, nurses, hospital staff, or other healthcare providers commit fraudulent or improper acts. This type of elder abuse is becoming more common in the U.S. in recent years and costs families and residents millions of dollars annually.
Types of Elder Healthcare Abuse
Unethical providers may commit healthcare fraud and abuse against the elderly in a number of different ways. Examples of this type of abuse include:
- Charging for healthcare, but not providing it
- Double-billing or overcharging for medical services or devices
- Under- or overmedicating elderly men and women
- Providing substandard or inadequate care when full payment was received
- Allowing poor conditions at healthcare facilities, including inadequately trained staff
- Allowing overcrowding to exist in healthcare facilities
- Failing to respond to questions about care, procedures, or devices
- Receiving kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs or referring patients to other providers
- Recommending fraudulent treatments for medical conditions and illnesses
- Committing Medicaid or Medicare fraud
Who Commits Healthcare Abuse Against Older People?
Healthcare fraud and elder abuse may be committed by doctors, nurses, hospitals, administrators, or any type of healthcare professional or medical facility. Insurance companies may also take advantage of vulnerable older people by giving them the run-around and exploiting them.
Healthcare Abuse In Nursing Homes
Older people in nursing homes may be easy targets for healthcare abuse. Elderly residents who suffer from dementia are not likely to keep a close eye on their healthcare usage or their finances. Where healthcare fraud is committed, nursing home residents may not receive the care they need. If your elderly loved resides in a nursing home, it is important to know the signs of healthcare abuse and investigate when they occur.
What Are the Signs of Healthcare Abuse?
To help protect your elderly loved one from healthcare abuse, be alert to the following signs:
- Evidence of inadequate care
- Evidence of incorrect types or improper administration of medications
- Problems with the healthcare facility
- Duplicate billings for the same healthcare services or products
- Inappropriate billing for services
- Incorrect information in explanations of benefits
- Misrepresentation of provider, date, or location of services
- Waiving deductibles or copayments
- False use of healthcare information
How to Guard Against Medicare Fraud
For an elderly person on Medicare, steps to help spot fraud are discussed on Medicare.gov. The government recommends that you compare the dates of medical services on your calendar with statements received from Medicare to ensure that each listed service was actually provided, and that all the details are correct. Also, check receipts and statements from healthcare providers for errors. If you believe a charge is incorrect, call the provider’s office to discuss it. If you believe Medicare is being charged for healthcare that was not received, report the fraud.
What Are Your Legal Options If Healthcare Abuse Has Occurred?
If you discover clear evidence of healthcare abuse against your elderly loved one, your best course of action is to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP can help you pursue compensation to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Contact us at (903) 290-1774 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a healthcare abuse case and what damages you may be able to claim.