Hospice care is becoming an increasingly popular option. The purpose of hospice care is for a patient to remain comfortable when they have a terminal illness. Patients receive palliative care that is not intended to cure them. They help with hygiene, provide pain medication and encourage physical therapy.
Unfortunately, some hospice care providers neglect patients or are even abusive.
If you are concerned about the care your loved one is receiving at their hospice facility, talk to one of our experienced Tampa hospice negligence lawyers today to begin the process of filing a complaint. Tragos Law cares about our clients of all ages and will fight for your rights.
If you suspect abuse at a hospice care facility, contact hospice staff. They may resolve the issue by transferring your loved one and/or firing or disciplining the parties involved in the abuse. Every licensed hospice that participates in the Medicare program must follow federal regulations.
Under these regulations, you have the right to speak with a hospice RN case manager. Then, you may contact the medical director and the manager. You should expect a response in no more than a few days. If the problem is urgent, such as if your loved one is receiving the wrong medication, you should receive a response within hours.
If a hospice care provider will not respond adequately to your concerns, you should report hospice abuse to the Agency for Health Care Administration, at 1-888-419-3456 / 800-955-8771 Florida Relay Service (TDD number) or use the Licensed Health Care Facility Complaint Form.
However, you must inform the hospice of your intent to file a complaint so they will address the urgent issue your loved one is facing.
This is not only for the good of your loved one but for the benefit of everyone living at the hospice facility. Oftentimes, a hospice will not make necessary changes until they face consequences.
In more extreme cases where the hospice may be committing fraud, you must go beyond state inspectors and instead report the incident to the Florida Medicare Fraud Control Unit. You may also mail your complaint to:
Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
File a complaint also to both the Inspector General of the Florida Department of State by calling (850) 245-6469 and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida by calling the Tampa headquarters at (813) 274-6000.
Reporting on multiple levels is the best way to achieve faster results. If the hospice does not respond promptly, issue a complaint to the Agency for Health Care Administration, at 1-888-419-3456 / 800-955-8771 Florida Relay Service (TDD number) or use the Licensed Health Care Facility Complaint Form.
When writing a complaint, make sure to explain the issue you are addressing in detail. Even if your loved one has already passed away, you may issue a complaint to any of these agencies. By issuing complaints, you will be able to hold the hospice accountable.
You may also be entitled to compensation for the medical expenses you incur and the pain and suffering of your loved one.
However, the hospice service provider and their legal team will do everything they can to reduce their liability. Therefore, you’ll need help from an experienced elder abuse attorney.
One common legal defense is that the patient was old and would pass away soon anyway. However, the purpose of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for the patient. Also, patients will typically have 6 months to live and deserve to live those 6 months to their fullest.
When your loved one passes away abruptly, you will be robbed of time you could have spent saying goodbye. Your Florida hospice abuse lawyer will explain why this is not a sufficient excuse and will highlight the pain and suffering that your loved one experienced.
Often, there are complications when you believe that the hospice was neglecting your family member. For example, your family member may have needed emergency care but the equipment used to alert the hospital staff to the emergency was defective. As a result, you may not only have a claim against the hospital staff for failing to detect and correct the problem, but also a claim against the manufacturer of the defective hospital equipment.