Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Missouri Nursing Homes and the Attorney General

We have written several posts concerning resources for individuals to research and review the quality of care provided by a particular nursing home.  Additionally, we have provided resources that concerned family members or loved ones can utilize if they are concerned about ongoing care problems at nursing home or long term care facility.  There is another, albeit lesser known, option available in Missouri, which is to report the facility to the Missouri Attorney General’s office. 

Missouri’s Omnibus Nursing Home Act is Missouri’s statutory scheme to govern nursing homes operating within the state.  From a legal perspective, the Nursing Home Act contains a number of important provisions outlining how nursing homes operating a facility within Missouri must be licensed, maintain records, comply with various state standards, and many other regulatory requirements.  For the purposes of this post, however, there is one section in particularly I want to focus on—Section 198.093: Violations of resident’s rights—complaints—legal actions—damages.

Section 198.093 allows a resident to file with the attorney general a complaint of an alleged deprivation or injury while at a nursing facility.  It is important to note, though, that the complaint needs to be filed “within one hundred eighty days of the alleged deprivation or injury.”  Upon reviewing the complaint, if the attorney general does not initiate legal action within sixty days of receipt of the complaint, a civil action can be brought against the nursing home for specified violations under the Missouri Nursing Home Act.

It is additionally worth noting that filing a complaint with the attorney general can, in some circumstances, allow for the recovery of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees that may not otherwise have been available.

Ultimately, the Missouri Nursing Home Act is one more resource available to residents—and the family of those residents—trying to ensure they are receiving the car they desire while at a nursing facility.    

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