Nursing Home Abuse

Meet Our Attorneys – Jon B. Allison and Austin LiPuma

April 21st, 2021 by

Meet Our Attorneys

The attorneys of Freking Myers & Reul are a cohesive team with decades of experience helping individuals with legal advice and representation.  Diligent, empathetic, passionate, approachable, are just a few words you could use to describe us.  We would like you to get to know more about us by following our series “Meet Our Attorneys” to learn about our professional achievements and experiences as well as our passions, hobbies, and interests outside the office.

 

Jon B. Allison

Jon practices in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of employment contract and non-competition. He is an experienced litigator who practices in federal and state trial and appellate courts and in federal and state agencies.
Jon grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He attended the University of Michigan where he studied psychology and education. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati where he served as Law Review Editor-in-Chief.
Jon lives in Mt. Lookout with his spouse, Deb (who works for the City of Cincinnati), and two children, Kate and Ben. He spends the vast majority of his free time with them focused on their various activities. His favorite thing to do is take long walks or hikes with his family. Jon also has a twin brother who lives and works in Cincinnati with his spouse and son.

 

Austin H. LiPumaAustin H. LiPuma

Austin LiPuma concentrates his practice in wrongful death, premises, nursing home neglect/abuse, and car/truck/pedestrian accident cases. Austin is licensed to practice law in Ohio, Indiana, as well as federal courts in both states. Austin was recognized as a 2021 Ohio Super Lawyer Rising – Plaintiff Personal Injury. He sits on the board of the Southwest Ohio Trial Lawyers Association and is an active member of The Ohio Association for Justice.
In his spare time, Austin is heavily involved with University of Cincinnati’s Mock Trial Association, which is ranked in the top 50 out of over 750 registered teams across the Nation. For the past eight years, Austin has been the head coach of The Bearcats where he teaches undergraduate students the fundamentals of effective trial work and advocacy.
As a Cleveland native, Austin grew up in an Italian American household where food and family were the primary focuses of his upbringing. As such, when he is not working or coaching, you can find Austin either watching a cooking show (usually ‘Chopped’), cooking, or most likely, doing both. Austin also enjoys staying as active as possible and although he admittedly has “zero form,” feverishly enjoys playing tennis whenever and wherever the weather permits.
More recently, Austin has been featured as a regular on WLW’s The Bill Cunningham Show as a legal expert focusing on personal injury-type cases. Make sure to tune in and listen for Austin’s advice there or check out his standing blog: Personal Injury Claims During a Pandemic and Beyond.

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Meet Our Attorneys – Mark W. Napier and Laura Welles Wilson

April 14th, 2021 by

Meet Our Attorneys

The attorneys of Freking Myers & Reul are a cohesive team with decades of experience helping individuals with legal advice and representation. Diligent, empathetic, passionate, approachable, are just a few words you could use to describe us. We would like you to get to know more about us by following our series “Meet Our Attorneys” to learn about our professional achievements and experiences as well as our passions, hobbies, and interests outside the office.

Mark W. Napier

Mark Napier concentrates his practice in wrongful death, nursing home abuse, and car/truck/pedestrian accident cases. Mark is licensed to practice law in Ohio, KY, and the local federal courts. Mark has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer – Plaintiff Personal Injury for ten consecutive years. He has the highest attorney rating by Martindale-Hubbell for legal skills and ethics. He is a former President of the Southwest Ohio Trial Lawyers Association and a former Trustee of the Ohio Association for Justice. His is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for attorneys who have achieved million dollar recoveries.

In his community activities, Mark serves as a volunteer at St. Vincent DePaul’s Phone Center returning calls from neighbors who seek rent or utility financial assistance or other services. Mark is also a former Board President of the non-profit association IKRON, which provides services to the developmentally disabled.

In his spare time, Mark is part of the Black Widow Top Sportsman class drag racing team beginning in the spring 2021. The team will race its dragster at various drag racing tournaments in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and Texas.  Also, Mark is a part-owner of six thoroughbreds headquartered in Ocala, FL who have or will primarily race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.  Mark’s wife of 40 years is Maureen Napier, and they have two children, Shannon, who is a MA degree social worker in Columbus, and Sean, who is a CPA in Boston, MA.

 

Laura Welles Wilson

Laura is an Attorney with Freking Myers & Reul, LLC in Cincinnati, Ohio, and concentrates her practice in Employment Law and Litigation. Laura received her A.B. in French Literature from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Following graduation from law school, Laura began her legal career in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio as a law clerk to The Honorable Robert A. Steinberg, then a United States Magistrate Judge. Following Judge Steinberg’s retirement, Laura continued to serve the Court and served as a Career Law Clerk to Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hogan for fourteen years, until his retirement in 2010.

As a private practitioner, Laura has experience on both the defense and plaintiff’s side of employment litigation. Since entering private practice, Laura’s work has focused on a wide range of employment law matters, with special emphasis on litigation and motion practice. She has successfully briefed numerous cases, overcoming motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions filed against her clients, positioning the case for trial and/or settlement. Her accomplishments include successfully briefing and arguing employment discrimination claims before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and briefing before the Ohio Supreme Court, as well as work on numerous cases that have resulted in successful outcomes for firm clients at trial and through pre-trial settlements.

Laura is an active member of the Cincinnati Bar Association, serving as Chair of the Professionalism Committee, member of the Admissions Committee, and former member of the Nominating Committee. In addition, she is a member of NELA, OELA, and CELA, as well as the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association, John Weld Peck Chapter.

Laura also volunteers in her community as a member of the Cincinnati Nature Center Board of Directors, former Board member and current member of the Nominating Committee for the Indian Hill Winter Club, and member of the Mariemont City Schools Finance Committee.

When she is not working on a legal brief, she enjoys a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, orienteering and nature walks, which she pursues when travelling both near and far. She aspires to improve her skills on a mountain bike and loves to explore local craft beer options in any destination, especially if there is a side of live music.

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How Nursing Homes Must Battle COVID-19

April 7th, 2020 by

As of this writing (4-7-20), US deaths from COVID-19 are increasing hourly. Many of these deaths have occurred in nursing homes. It is well-documented that the virus spreads rapidly. If an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even talks, it is now suspected by medical authorities that the infected person’s respiratory droplets can remain in the air for up to three days. So, nursing Homes are on the front lines in battling COVID-19.

Nursing home residents generally are elderly people with co-morbidity conditions that make them more at risk than healthy, younger persons. As we age, in general, our immune systems weaken. To assist nursing homes, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have continually issued and updated their guidance for nursing homes. Nursing homes must take reasonable steps to comply with these guidelines, some that include the following:

* Strict immediate compliance with all CMS and CDC infection control guidance.
* Prohibition of all visitors, volunteers, and non-essential healthcare personnel to the facility.
* Prohibition of all resident group activities or gatherings, including communal dining facilities.
* Strict screening for fever of all personnel entering the facility, except EMS responding to an urgent medical need.
* Use of face masks by all personnel and by all residents having to leave their room for any reason.
* Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as face shields, eye protection, and gowns by all personnel who attend to residents who have or who are suspected of having the virus.
* Daily screening of all residents for fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
* Separate staffing and Isolation for all residents who have or are suspected of having the virus.

Nursing homes will likely need state and local leaders’ assistance to address some of these needs, particularly acquiring the proper PPE to treat virus patients and COVID-19 tests. If you have any questions or concerns about the care your loved one is receiving in a nursing home, please feel free to contact Mark Napier at mnapier@fmr.law.

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Mom and Dad Are At Risk: Ohio Nursing Home Inspectors Are Seriously Understaffed

April 26th, 2017 by

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on April 23, 2017 that Ohio’s nursing home inspectors are seriously understaffed. The U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMMS”) regulates and monitors nursing homes in part by inspections. The purpose of these inspections is to assure that nursing homes are following the federal regulations that promote a safe environment for the nursing home residents.

In most states, CMMS hires the state’s health department to inspect that state’s nursing homes on behalf of CMMS. Likewise in Ohio, CMMS contracts with the Ohio Department of Health to conduct mandatory annual and complaint inspections, also known as surveys. The ODH hires and trains nursing home inspectors to conduct these inspections. But, since 2011, ODH has failed to meet the federal deadline for conducting annual inspections. The reason is serious understaffing of nursing home inspectors.

In Ohio, there are currently 153 nursing home inspectors who examine Ohio’s 960 nursing homes and over 600 assisted-living facilities. But, many more are needed. The newspaper reported that Ohio’s neighboring states Michigan, Kentucky, and Illinois have one inspector for every four nursing homes. Using the numbers above, Ohio has one inspector for every ten nursing home and assisted living facilities.

The recruitment and retention of qualified, experienced nursing home inspectors is difficult because of the low pay. These inspectors are nurses, dieticians, environmental health professionals, and social workers. The state’s median entry level salary is $31,014. But, a registered nurse in Northeast Ohio can make $20,000 more in an entry-level position, according to interviews and statistics from Lorain Community College.

For more details, and to read this excellent report.

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Another Nursing Home Chain is Sued for Overcharging Medicare

April 28th, 2015 by

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on April 21, 2015 that it has intervened in three False Claim Act lawsuits and filed a consolidated Complaint against HCR Manorcare. The Complaint alleges that HCR Manorcare knowingly and routinely submitted false claims to Medicare and Tricare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not medically necessary.

HCR Manorcare is based in Toledo, Ohio. It is one of the nation’s largest providers of short term post-acute and long term care. It operates approximately 281 skilled nursing facilities in 30 states, including seven facilities in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The DOJ’s Complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Complaint alleges that HCR Manorcare pressured its skilled nursing facilities’ administrators and rehabilitation therapists to meet unrealistic financial goals. This resulted in billing for unnecessary services to residents.

According to the DOJ, HCR Manorcare set prospective billing goals designed to significantly increase revenues without regard to patients’ actual clinical needs. And, it threatened to terminate its skilled nursing facility managers and therapists if they did not administer the additional treatments necessary to qualify for the highest Medicare payments. In addition, HCR Manorcare also allegedly kept patients in its facilities longer than medically necessary so they could increase its receipt of Medicare payments.

HCR Manorcare in response has argued that the DOJ made the decision to intervene in the civil lawsuit despite its full cooperation with the government’s investigation. HCR Manorcare has stated the lawsuit is unjust and it will vigorously defend the company in court.

Follow this link for more information.

 

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