Manorcare: Nursing Home Lawsuits
Our law firm brings serious injury and wrongful death lawsuits against ManorCare in Maryland when their negligence brings significant harm or causes a death. This article provides an overview on this company and some insight on bringing nursing home malpractice claims against it.Background
HCR ManorCare provides healthcare through nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, hospice and home health care. It operates under three names—ManorCare, Heartland and Arden Court. Though based out of Toledo, Ohio, it has 500 locations in 32 states, with a total of 60,000 employees. It is, by some counts, the second largest nursing facility provider in the country behind only Genesis HealthCare. It is the biggest provider in Maryland.Manor Care in Maryland
ManorCare was an independent company before it merged with HCR in 1998. Before the merger, ManorCare was based out of Gaithersburg, Maryland and had an acute care hospital (which it later sold), 42 assisted living facilities and 171 nursing centers. Right now, there are 31 ManorCare facilities in Maryland (in cities such as Silver Spring, Potomac, Towson, Catonsville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Upper Marlboro, Baltimore, Rosedale, Pikesville, Hagerstown, Ellicott City, Derwood, Beltsville, Adelphi, Hyattsville and Chestertown). There are about 11 Arden Courts facilities in Maryland, and four Heartland facilities. For
better or worse, this is the future of nursing home care. Large for-profit providers who make millions of dollars a year with a great incentive to keep costs as low as possible. (See one judge's view in 2014 on Manor Care doing just this below.)
HCR ManorCare wears a number of hats. They provide long-term nursing care, short-term care (for example, for patients requiring rehabilitation after surgery), Alzheimer's care and hospice care. Whether because of a shift in ManorCare’s focus or hospital overcrowding, ManorCare has assumed the role of caregiver for patients who have serious medical conditions. ManorCare’s 2011 Quality Report states that “[w]e are able to admit many patients who are clinically and medically complex….” The company is clearly focused on preventing rehospitalizations.
Ideally, that goal will be supplemented with properly trained staff, competent and caring doctors, and adequate staff-to-patient ratios. Too often, however, our medical negligence lawyers and nursing home malpractice lawyers find that these grandiose goals are undercut by companies that care more about their bottom line than the care they provide their patients. To put it mildly, many times nursing homes and health care centers like these “cheap out”—they have too few staff, they don’t properly educate and retrain the staff, and they hold on too long to patients who should be sent to the hospital.Manor Care’s Ratings
The federal government evaluates, rates and compares nursing homes. The results for Maryland ManorCare facilities are less than impressive. Grouped together and averaged, these are the results:
- Overall Rating: 20/45 stars (44%)
- Health Inspections: 16/45 stars (36%)
- Nursing Home Staffing: 26/45 stars (58%)
- Quality Measures: 34/45 stars (76%)
Prediction: you won't see this on the ManorCare brochure.Nursing Home Injuries: Bedsores
By far, the largest percentage of nursing home injuries we see are skin ulcers, also called pressure sores and bedsores. These are holes that start in the skin, oftentimes because bed-ridden patients (particularly those with Alzheimer's, dementia or significant physical impairments) are not moved frequently enough. Lying in one position for long periods of time cuts off blood flow to some areas of the body. Deprived of oxygen, those skin cells begin to die. Then the tissue underneath begins to die. Before long, patients acquire deep and oftentimes untreatable ulcers that are black, necrotic and penetrate to the bone.
Bedsores are a normal part of nursing homes, and minor Stage-1 bedsores do not necessarily imply negligence. Even if they are a result of negligence, there is usually limited injury for this type of bedsore. Significant nursing home malpractice happens when staff (1) fails to recognize the presence of pressure sores; and (2) fails to treat existing pressure sores. Caught early, further injury is preventable. Ignored for too long, the damage may be long-lasting or permanent. It is not uncommon for patients to die because of infection caused by bedsores.Nursing Home Falls
Falls are a second common nursing home injury. People admitted to nursing homes and other long- or short-term care facilities often have physical limitations, whether because of a recent surgery, advanced age, or disease. Patients must be cared for based on these limitations. Some patients should have beds with side rails to prevent them from falling out. Many falls happen because the patient-to-staff ratio is so high that patients do not have help going to the bathroom. When they attempt it on their own, which they know they shouldn’t do (but are left with no choice), injuries happen. It can be difficult for the elderly or people who already have significant injuries to recover from new bone fractures.ManorCare Lawsuits
Our firm has faced down HCR ManorCare on a number of occasions. Anecdotally, it appears to have a large “market share” of nursing home malpractice lawsuits. One lawsuit in particular, against a facility in West Virginia, left jurors so angry that they awarded over $90 million to the family of a woman with dementia who died after the facility’s failure to treat her decubitus ulcers and dehydration. Post-trial motions show ManorCare’s lawyers arguing that the state’s medical negligence noneconomic damage cap should apply; and plaintiffs’ lawyers arguing that the medical malpractice cap shouldn’t apply because the failures alleged were basic services—failure to provide water, food and other basic care that required no physician involvement. Evidence in that case showed a profit motive for the company—plaintiffs argued that the company took home over $4 billion in profit every year (though, Manor Care later argued that its actual profits were closer to $75 million).
Importantly, every state has specific rules on punitive damages. In Maryland nursing home neglect cases, punitive damages are not available. However, that fact should not deter patients and family members from bringing a claim to hold negligent nursing homes responsible for their conduct and to force them to pay compensatory and non-economic damages.Manor Care's Lawyers in Maryland
Manor Care is represented by a number of good lawyers in Maryland, including Tom Monahan (Goodell Devries) in Baltimore (and Virginia, apparently), Jim Gleason in Rockville (Gleason, Flynn, Emig & Fogleman), and Andy Vernick in Annapolis (Wharton Levin Ehrmantraut & Klein). Manor Care has an attorney in Toledo, Ohio that supervises claims against Manor Care in Maryland.Sample Lawsuits and Expert Reports
The majority of meritorious nursing home lawsuits against Manor Care in Maryland do reach a settlement. Again, not many good cases are going to trial.
Here are some sample legal documents we have filed in nursing home lawsuits against this provider and a sample idea of their defenses:
- Sample Nursing Home Complaint (sample wrongful death lawsuit against Manor Care)
- Sample Mediation Statement in a Nursing Home Case (example of mediation statement in nursing home lawsuit that reached a settlement)
- Plaintiff's Expert Report (expert report used by our nursing home lawyers in a lawsuit against this company)
- Expert Report (sample certificate of merit and expert report defending Manor Care in a nursing home case)
- Get some thoughts from their own employees about the care this company provides
- Reviews for the Rossville ManorCare facility in Baltimore which is one of the nursing homes we sued in the sample lawsuit above. (You have to take all on-line reviews with a grain of salt for both positive and negative reviews. But they are still worth reading.)
If someone you or someone you love was cared for by Manor Care and been hurt or killed by a mistake or neglect, call our Maryland nursing home attorneys at 800-553-8082 for a free Internet consultation to discuss a potential lawsuit. Keep in mind there are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained.Manor Care Settlements and Verdicts
ManorCare generally requires clients and lawyers - including us - to sign confidentiality clauses which makes it more difficult to get settlement information. Clearly, at least in Maryland, ManorCare is not letting a lot of viable claims go to trial because they are settling them with plaintiffs.
As a result, the information on settlements and verdicts that does come out though verdict reports and such is more limited. Also, and this is really important, ManorCare lets only the weakest cases go to trial. In the cases they are settling, they are likely allowing plaintiffs' nursing home lawyers to report the smaller cases. It is not, by the way, just ManorCare. The entire industry is adept at pushing its negligence under a rug and away from the eyes of the general public.
In sum, ManorCare is generally smart enough to settle the cases that should be settled (after making you slug it out in discovery) and it keeps a tight lid on those settlements. So these verdicts and settlements- both on the high and the low end - are by no means illustrative of what to expect in a given case: