Crucial Internal Documentation in Litigating Nursing Home Cases

The internal documentation that is recorded and housed by the owners and/or management companies responsible for operation of a nursing home is vitally important in litigating against a nursing home. This internal documentation may be the framework of a successful prosecution of the case.  Nursing home documentation varies from nursing home to nursing home. Most nursing homes record data in three major categories:

  • Staffing/payroll
  • Clinical issues
  • Financial analysis

One of the most common causes of nursing home resident injury or abuse is the lack of staffing or a shortfall in competent staffing. Internal documentation of the nursing home can be revealing about staffing and payroll information. The largest expense of operating a nursing home is the cost of its labor force. Therefore, to be more profitable, nursing homes will reduce labor in an effort to increase its profit margins. Accordingly, there is detailed information stored by the nursing homes showing labor costs in comparison to other years.

Nursing homes also keep track of employees at their facilities. There should be a computerized report that keeps the time of all employees coming and going into the facility.  t would show the number of hours worked as well.

There is also a recording of the hours of labor that shows the hours of each employee and the number of hours expended for a particular facility over a length of time.

Related to labor costs is a “key factor report” that shows the number of certified hours or noncertified hours of RNs, LPNs and CNAs.This report would show the actual nursing hours versus the budgeted nursing hours.

Nursing homes also keep payroll period and report/payroll analysis reports. This report shows the facility’s budget of hours paid and the number of hours of overtime. Because a certain facility shows a large number of overtime hours, it may mean that in all likelihood, the facility is experiencing a high number of employees who are not showing up for work.  It might mean that there are many unreliable employees whose hours are picked up by the more reliable RNs, CNAs and LPNs.

It could be important to determine whether the nursing home has a scoring system in place. Some nursing homes keep score of performance in operations related to their employees’ commitment to integrity, their passion and the value that they give to nursing home residents.

Some nursing homes are owned by publicly traded corporations. There is much information relating to the financial performance of the parent company. These documents should be investigated. Each of the individual facilities would have a financial condition statement. This would be valuable in knowing the financial status of the facility in which the resident was injured.

In handling nursing home litigation, it is important to know as much detail as possible about the financial condition of the facility, its standard policies and procedures, its staffing procedures and whether the facility is profitable. It is important to request production of all key internal documents in the litigation that may tend to be revealing of the shortcomings of a nursing home facility or rehabilitation facility. The more information known about the nursing home’s financial condition, the better it is to try to understand reasons associated with the neglect or abuse of a resident.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home abuse cases, nursing home bed sore cases, nursing home injury cases and nursing home wrongful death matters for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Maywood, Riverside, Westchester, Villa Park, Stone Park, Northlake, Countryside, Justice, Hickory Hills, Palos Hills, Grayslake, Bedford Park, Burbank, Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Chicago (Austin, Humboldt Park, Garfield Ridge), Worth and Cicero, Ill.

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