Q & A with Rob & Will

Episode 130
Categories: Resources

On this very, extra, super special episode of the Nursing Home Abuse Podcast, LaGuardia Community College students Zilla Tofte and Mariuxi Moran take over as hosts of the show. Zilla and Mariuxi ask us questions as part of a school project (in collaboration with the Gardiner-Shenker Fellowship) on nursing home abuse and fraud. Among other things, we talk about the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, journalist Edith Evans Asbury, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and Qui Tem. Please be sure to check out Zilla and Mariuxi’s podcast on the project, The Endless Fight!!!

Mariuxi: Hi, I’m Mariuxi Moran. I’m a student from LaGuardia Community College, a journalist student who is working on a project about Medicaid fraud in nursing homes.

Zilla: And hi, I’m Zilla Tofte. I’m Mariuxi fellow student from LaGuardia Community College. Together, we’re working with the Gardner Schenker Foundation Fellowship in collaboration with the LaGuardia Community College Wagner Archives on a project about mistreatment and fraud in the nursing home and elderly care system.

Schenk: Wow. I feel honored we’re being interviewed on our own show with these two shows on a very important topic. So we’re excited. The script has been flipped on us. We’re now the interviewees, not the interviewers. So ladies, welcome to the show. We welcome ourselves to the show, I guess? I don’t know how I would say that, but awesome. Looking forward to talking to you.

Mariuxi: Thank you for speaking to us.

Zilla: It’s a fellowship that our school has with the Gardner Schenker Foundation, and it’s in collaboration with the school’s archives as well. So last semester, the school received a collection of works from a New York Times journalist, a female journalist called Edith Evans Asbury, and it was pretty much like all of her raw documents that she had, like handwritten notes, typewritten papers, like all the things that she had when she was a journalist in the 1960s, 1970s and I think a bit in the 1980s at the New York Times. So yeah, the school received all this work and they were like, “Okay,” they paid a bunch of students and they were like, “Okay, you guys go through this work and whatever topic seems interesting to you, you have a year to do a research project about it, write articles, like make videos, whatever form you want your project to take, it can. So me and Mariuxi both were really interested in the word Edith did on nursing homes and like the fraud and mistreatment in New York, so we both wrote articles on it, and now this semester, we decided to merge our projects and make a podcast.

Schenk: Okay, that’s fantastic. Good for you guys. That’s awesome.

Zilla: Thank you. We’re speaking to like a few lawyers on the topic and you guys obviously are amazing to speak about because you have the podcast about abuse and we’re speaking to some people who have some stories, some characters that have experience with mistreatment and fraud. So it’s just going to be like – I think it’s going to be like five or six episodes and it’s almost going to be like a collection of work that we then gift to the archives and they can then put in their documents. Yeah, it’ll be there for history.

Smith: And so what was this journalist’s name again?

Zilla: Her name is Edith Evans Asbury.

Smith: Okay.

Schenk: I’ve got to check that out.

Smith: And she was writing about the subject in what decade? The ‘60s and ‘70s?

Zilla: Yeah, she was in the 1970’s, especially 1975. She wrote a lot – like she wrote like a bunch of stories that came out about Medicare and Medicaid fraud in New York, so it was basically like kind of curing the 1975 about fraud, mistreatment, a lot of nursing homes here in New York were closed because of the deficiencies of all of the things in the care system.

Smith: During Reagan’s presidency and during the 100th session of Congress in 1987, they passed this huge administrative law called the Omnibus Reconciliation Act – it was OBRA. And there’s a bunch of different parts to it. There are things that have to do with farm subsidies. There are things that have to do with student loan payments. And then there’s this one thing in subtitle C that has to do with nursing homes, and it was the first time that there was real regulation and the setting forth of standards for long-term care settings. And prior to that, especially during the time that she was writing in the 1970s, I don’t know if you guys are familiar with the movie and the book as well, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Zilla: I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t seen it.

Smith: Yeah, it’s where we get in the U.S., we get this trope or this term “Nurse Ratched” describing a terrible healthcare worker with horrible bedside manner because back in that time, mental health facilities, long-term care settings and even some types of acute care hospitals had no regulation. It was the Wild West. And the care for the patients and the residents was awful. It was truly terrible. I mean it’s bad now, clearly, and I say clearly because our entire business is based on suing nursing homes for negligence, but before the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987, it was terrible. It was really a nightmare. I mean they were taking these elderly residents and mental health patients and getting paid for Medicaid and Medicare with just no oversight. So you had people who were just completely abandoned and neglected and mistreated. I can only imagine the things that she saw and wrote about. It must have been awful.

Schenk: Yeah. And that statute, the OBRA statute we use in our cases because we’ll go in a deposition or in trial testimony, you say, “Are you familiar with OBRA?” Of course they have to say yes, because if they accept Medicare or Medicaid funding, they have to follow the rules. And then we set out the rule to them and show them the facts of how they didn’t meet that rule. So the OBRA legislation came after years and years of advocacy by different organizations and even though we haven’t heard of that author, I’m sure she had something to do with it as well. It was many years in the making to get that legislation passed. We still use it to this day.

Smith: Oh yeah, people like her definitely effected change because they brought light to an area of darkness. I mean when I say there was negligence, it pales – what happens today pales in comparison. It was not just negligence, but you could imagine, I’m sure if you look at her notes, it was essentially torture. They had no concern for the residents’ rights, their health, their safety. I can only imagine it was a truly awful situation.

Zilla: Wow, I had never even heard of this statute before. Definitely I think people like her writing about these kids of issues helped pass this statute eventually. But yeah, we look at her notes, it’s like letters that people sent her about, oh my god, like horror stories. Yeah.

Smith: And let’s see here – Ken Kesey is the one who wrote “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and this is something worth looking into as well, because in addition to just being a great work of literature and an amazing movie with Jack Nicholson, it really did highlight what life was like inside – this one in particular is a mental health facility, but there is little difference at this time between mental health facilities and certain long-term care settings.

Schenk: Yeah, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” I think was required reading when I was a sophomore in high school.

Smith: Yeah, and like I said, it’s where we get that term “Nurse Ratched,” somebody who just doesn’t care about the patients, is very mean. There were no residents’ rights. OBRA, one of the first things that OBRA did is established that residents have certain rights, because prior to this, I mean certainly they had rights as U.S. citizens and as humans, but they weren’t elucidated any where and they certainly weren’t enforced.

Mariuxi: Wow, yeah, we just definitely have to check out that movie, and also who wouldn’t want to see Jack Nicholson?

Smith: Yeah, and it’s early Jack Nicholson, and it really is an iconic movie. You have to check it, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” I can’t remember, I think Milos Forman directed it, but I’m not sure.

Schenk: So what are some of the things – not to take over the conversation – but what are some of the things you guys have uncovered or learned in researching and talking to attorneys and other persons about their stories in nursing homes? What are some things that maybe surprised you or you didn’t know about?

Zilla: For me, last semester, my project was more on the mistreatment side and Mariuxi worked more on the medical fraud, but I think the two topics are like very closely interwoven with each other. So yeah, it just makes sense for us to merge it this semester. But I mean looking through – we looked through the same documents from Edith all of last semester and, yeah, some of the stories people had written to her about were like one woman went to visit her mom often. She had been in a nursing home here in New York, I think like two months. She came to the nursing home and her mom was sitting outside in the garden and she was supposed to be having her lunch, but she was severely undernourished, and she had lost a lot of weight. She had like a blank – the woman said she had a blank stare in her eyes like she didn’t recognize me anymore, and flies were zooming around her head and her food. And that’s such like a scarring image. I can’t imagine going to a nursing home where you leave your mom and you come and she doesn’t recognize you and that’s what you see.

And there’s a lot of other stories also about nursing homes just refusing family members time so if they wanted to come and take their family members out of the nursing home for like an overnight stay or like a trip, the nursing home would say, “No, they have to stay here or you have to give two weeks notice,” and Mariuxi found out that actually that could have been because the Medicaid and the Medicare pays per night for a patient, so every night that they’re not in the nursing home, the nursing home loses money.

Smith: Yeah. And that’s actually an issue even today because we’ve had several cases where a nursing home would not send, did not send a resident to the hospital even though they needed to simply because, as you said, every night that they don’t spend in the nursing home is a night the nursing home doesn’t get money. So the hospital gets the money. But yeah, I can imagine back then…

Schenk: It was worse.

Smith: It was even worse, yeah.

Zilla: One of the questions that we really wanted to ask you guys is in your opinion and in your experience as mistreatment and neglect lawyers, what do you think and what do you see are like the major issues in day-to-day life of the residents of nursing homes and the caregivers working in nursing homes?

Smith: I don’t recall if you and I discussed this, but I actually worked in a nursing home as a nurse’s assistant for eight years.

Zilla: Yes, I heard that on the podcast.

Smith: And my job, I didn’t pass out medicine. I didn’t give them treatment. What my job was is to help them get up, help them get dressed, help them eat, take them to the bathroom, clean them, give them a shower, because essentially a lot of these people cannot do those things completely independently. And one of the major problems that we have is that this job is horribly understaffed. And when you don’t have enough people like doing what I did on a floor with residents, then you can imagine a lot of them don’t get up at the right time. They don’t take the shower when they need to. There isn’t somebody there to assist them to the bathroom. There isn’t somebody there to turn them back and forth, and that’s how they develop bedsores. So staffing is probably one of the number one problems in this industry and it directly immediately affects the quality of lives of the residents.

Schenk: Yeah, in fact CMS over and over again, and recently as early as earlier this year, had a memo stating that the amount of hours that a nurse puts their hands on a resident and the amount of staff that is available at any given time is one of the, if not the most important, a very important factor in the quality of the life of the nursing home resident.

Smith: Yeah. Now I mean there are a lot of other issues that nursing homes are dealing with, and one of those is, for example, not related to staffing – well I guess everything is somewhat related to staffing – is the use of restraints. This has become a hot button topic because there are certain circumstances in which somebody may be physically restrained. You’ll have somebody that has a lap belt on them or something in that vein that prevents them from harming themselves or harming others. And what tends to happen is because there is understaffing, it’s convenient to overuse physical restraints. And what ends up happening is you have people who are physically restrained just because it makes it easier for the staff to deal with them.

They also have chemical restraints which are the administration of certain psychotropic drugs that make people lethargic, that make them tired and sleepy so that they’re easier to deal with. But again, it all relates back to staffing because they don’t have enough staff, it just makes it easier to commit these abuses.

Zilla: Wow, okay.

Mariuxi: Okay, can you say that these issue of staffing affects everything – what usually is in charge of controlling this situation?

Smith: Every nursing home is a company. It is a corporation of some sort. It’s a company. It’s a LLC. It’s a corporation or whatever legal fiction each individual state has. And so they – it’s the corporate big wigs. It’s the people in suits that are looking at the budget that are trying to shave corners and make a bigger profit. And so they’ll see just how much staff they have to have versus how often they get sued for not having enough staff, and they consider it the cost of doing business. But it’s the men in suits. It’s not necessarily the staff. It’s not the nursing…

Schenk: It’s not like Lisa was sick and couldn’t come to work and that’s why they’re understaffed. This is an institutional problem, and as Will had stated, our view is that it is due to – the purpose of any corporation, good or bad, is for profit and you can make more profit by cutting corners and not having the appropriate level of staff needed to provide a reasonable amount of quality care.

Smith: Yeah, it’s a money-making racket, and that hasn’t changed since the time that Edith was doing this investigation in the 1970s to now. We have more regulation but they are constantly fighting against this with each administration because the Department of Health and Human Services is under the purview of the executive branch, so when you get a new president, things can change one way or the other. And not to get political, but I can tell you the Obama administration had a different perspective on the nursing home industry than the current administration. So a lot of things changed January that year when Trump took over. It’s certainly more – in other words, it is way more favorable to the industry than it is the resident, currently.

Zilla: Yes, we actually spoke about this the other day with each other about how the fines, the regulations around fines for the nursing homes are changing, and it seems that under the current administration, they’re getting a lot more lax about violations, violation fines. It seems like they’re fining people almost on a per violation basis instead of a per day basis that I believe it was under the Obama administration.

Schenk: Right. So the amount of the fine and how a fine can be levied has been more relaxed or is attempting to be more relaxed under this administration. The administration is trying to argue that when you go into a nursing home, you can spot five or six different violations that might have been just a one-time “freak occurrence” that could shut the nursing home down, and that’s not fair is you run a nursing home. And that’s kind of their position so they want to be able to say there should not be any type of incident that happens just one time that should be able to be fined or shut the nursing home down, this type of thing. It should be over two or three times over the course of however many months. Then you can levy a fine or shut us down, that kind of thing. It’s a give and take. And right now, the industry is receiving – I don’t know – taking a lot of the benefits.

Smith: Yeah, and even the implementation of regulations is being delayed because at the behest of the nursing home industry who has found a more favorable executive administration than they currently have, they’re going to them with their crocodile tears and saying, “Look, we can’t keep up with this regulation and still make a profit. We’d like to postpone the enforcement of some of these regulations while we try and work this out internally.” And the current administration has been very amenable to that at the cost of residents’ safety, health and wellbeing.

Zilla: Yeah, so in the last two – so you spoke about restraints, right, like the chemical restraints and actual physical restraints. And there are more – we all know there are different forms of abuse going on and mistreatment going on in nursing homes. If, say, a family member or a nurse spotted a case like this and wants to bring it up to a higher power or to just to report the problem, what would be the best way they can go about doing that? Who should they speak to first?

Smith: Well all the staff in these situations, at least in Georgia, and this varies from state to state, they’re mandated reporters. So when they witness neglect to a certain level, neglect or abuse, they have report it. And who they report it to, I’d say if you’re – bring it up to the individual who’s known here as the director of nursing or the administrator, but you can always contact the Department of Community Health or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Schenk: That’s in the state of Georgia. If your loved one is in a nursing home in the state of Georgia, your first call depending on the severity of the incident would be to call the police. But if it’s something the police won’t handle, which is most of the time unless it’s some kind of egregious act or assault, then you would call whatever agency – every state has an agency that oversees healthcare institutions, and Georgia happens to be the Department of Community Health. In New York, I’m not quite sure. But you would call that department and open a complaint, and generally what would happen is that a surveyor would come and do an investigation or something like that. So that’s the second call to make after the police. You would call whatever your regulatory body is that oversees it. And then every state also have what are called ombudsmen.

Smith: Ombudsmen.

Schenk: Long-term care ombudsmen. Ombudsman is a Swedish word meaning – what was it?

Smith: Advocate.

Schenk: Advocate. Meaning advocate. So the ombudsmen in every state, they’re a lot of times volunteers but you file a complaint with them and they can also go in and advocate on behalf of that resident. But like Will said, if it’s something that…

Smith: If it looks like a New York State Department of Health – the Georgia one is the Department of Community Health. The federal one is the Department of Health and Human Services, but some regulatory body or advocate…

Schenk: So those are the calls you can make, but if it’s something that’s Mrs. Johnson, or whoever it is, is not getting the food or whatever, then I think going to the staff with that, going to the Department of Nursing, maybe even scheduling it, whenever the next care plan meeting is, going in and advocating on behalf of their loved one, but if it’s something else, yeah, then call the police. Call the regulatory agency. Call the ombudsman.

Smith: And the main thing is follow up. Don’t just say, tell somebody that something’s going on if this is your loved one and go, “Okay, I hope that’s resolved.” Make sure that it’s resolved because enforcement of residents’ rights is an ongoing issue and it’s difficult.

Mariuxi: Yeah. So when these major issues happen, and you know there are these misconceptions that people are in fear to report a case, so when people whistleblow a case of fraud or mistreatment, are there any consequences that they usually face?

Smith: Okay, and you also bring up something else that we forgot to mention. There are other things that can be reported that may not directly physically impact a resident, and one of those is fraud, and Medicare and Medicaid fraud is an enormous issue, and that is something you would report to the local prosecutor’s office or maybe even CMS.

Schenk: Or the Senior Medicare Patrol.

Smith: Or the Senior Medicare Patrol.

Schenk: Medicare Patrol – who we’ve had on the podcast. We’ve had the Georgia representative of the Senior Medicare Patrol as well as the actual in DC, the U.S. representative of the – and that’s a body that kind of receives tips on Medicare fraud.

Smith: And that gives us two different people that we’re working with here as far as retaliation. When it comes to family members and residents making a complaint, clearly they’re going to be worried about the staff retaliating against them or the nursing home, but that is very much unlawful. Without question, that’s unlawful. And in all honesty, I don’t know that it happens as much as people fear. I think that in my experience, once you make a complaint, the staff is very wary of exacerbating the situation.

As far as the staff themselves whistleblowing and reporting what they consider to be bad behavior by the company, that’s going to depend on whatever federal or state laws are in place and how they define retaliation. Can you get fired if you complain that your boss is milking Medicaid or Medicare? Probably not, but it’s going to depend on what whistleblower laws apply to your state.

Schenk: Yeah, but again as a general standpoint, if the concern is “If I report abuse and neglect on my loved one, are they going to abuse or neglect him or her more?” Anecdotally, as Will said, we don’t think that’s the case because the analogy would be if you turn the lights on in a bank and somebody’s trying to rob it, put the money in the sack, once the lights are on, they’re not going to keep putting money in the sack. They’re going to stop trying to rob the bank and try to get away.

Smith: Yeah, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but that should not be an impediment to doing the right thing.

Schenk: Exactly.

Zilla: Okay. So are there any laws in place like in Georgia that protect people who would go to a higher power to report these issues?

Smith: Yeah, so Georgia whistleblower, I’m pretty sure is pretty specific to state employees. I don’t know that – this is an area that I’m not very familiar with and we don’t deal with a lot.

Schenk: Yeah, if I remember from my employment law class from law school, because that’s the last time I talked about whistleblowing or read about it, but I think that Georgia actually was very weak on the whistleblowing.

Smith: Yeah, and I think it’s not private companies. I think it has to do with state employees.

Schenk: Or statutes that are impacted by it. I can’t remember. But no, I guess we’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Smith: Well in Georgia you can get fired for almost any reason as long as it’s not a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, so you can’t be fired for being a Christian, a woman, a man, Muslim, things like that. But if your employer says, “Hey, you alerted the authorities that we were committing fraud,” I’m not sure that Georgia protects you. They might. But again, you’ve still got to do the right thing.

Schenk: Yeah.

Mariuxi: Okay, thank you. Have you noticed any changes in kinds of mistreatment cases during your time practicing as an elderly neglect lawyer? Have gotten cases gotten more, less?

Schenk: I’ll say this, in my experience in this, and we’ve been doing this for five or six years, seven years?

Smith: Yeah, and I’ve been dealing with nursing homes I guess now for almost 16 years.

Schenk: But in terms of the civil justice system, in terms of filing lawsuits, in terms of attempting to negotiate settlements of cases involving neglect or abuse, in my opinion, in my experience, the nursing homes and in particular the insurance companies that would basically be writing the checks on behalf of these nursing homes are fighting these cases harder now. So I think there’s been, and this is just me, conspiracy theory, that I think that the industry is trying to push back against these cases to make it more difficult for attorneys particularly to bring claims for abuse, neglect. I think they’ve dug in their heels and said, “Okay, even if it costs us a little bit of money in the short term, 35 years, if we make it to where it’s so difficult that most attorneys don’t want to take these cases, we’re going to win in the long run,” which is if I’m not mistaken, kind of the strategy for auto accidents in the ‘90s and the early 2000s.

Smith: And you also – I think there’s an argument to made that you see more of a prevalence of what’s called arbitration clauses in admission agreements. And arbitration, if you’re not familiar with it is you guys have seen the daytime talk shows, right?

Zilla: Yeah.

Smith: Where Judge Judy or Judge Wapner or…

Schenk: They haven’t seen Judge Wapner. That was probably 30 years before their time.

Smith: Okay, well anyways…

Zilla: Judge Judy.

Smith: Yeah, Judge Judy. So that’s actually arbitration where a single arbitrator or arbiter decides a case instead of going to a jury trial, which you have a right to under the Seventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and of course, each individual state’s constitution allow you to have a jury trial in civil matters. And what will happen is these admission agreements will have in there an agreement to forego your Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial and instead have the case heard by an arbitrator, which very traditionally is much more conservative and much friendlier to the nursing home. And it’s in secret.

Schenk: It’s confidential.

Smith: Yeah, it’s confidential. So the public doesn’t know what the outcome is. A lot of the facts that come up and the evidence that comes up are kept from the public because of this arbitration agreement. And that’s another area that the current administration has, in my view, failed residents. There was a lot of litigation back and forth during Obama’s term and under Sylvia Burwell who was the head of Health and Human Services where they were fighting this in the Supreme Court and in the various district courts. All of that was dropped. Originally what CMS, which is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was saying was if you’re going to take money from us, you can’t have arbitration agreements. It looked like the Supreme Court was going to side against them on that, but nevertheless, CMS stopped fighting this issue when the current administration came into power.

Zilla: And you say that these types of arbitrations are more in favor of the nursing homes?

Smith: Absolutely.

Schenk: Yeah, so…

Smith: You’ve got to think, so if you’re in a community, regardless of where you are and a nursing home has neglected somebody and they died, if you take this to a jury trial, the public hears about it. Those six to 12 people listening on the jury hear about it. They go home and they tell their loved ones after the trial, and they’re much more sympathetic as just individuals, whereas if it happens in arbitration, the public doesn’t really find out about it and the judges tend to be a lot more conservative in their awarding of damages, money, in other words, in their awarding of money.

Zilla: Okay, wow. All right. One question we have for you guys is we were wondering why – so you guys have been working in this field for a while and you have, the podcast now has over, your podcast now has over 100 episodes, the podcast of Nursing Home Abuse. Why do you guys want to take the step and start putting this information out there to be readily available for the public and what has the reaction from the public been like?

Schenk: I think the main point for the podcast was to educate the public, like the audience we have in mind are individuals that have a loved one in a nursing home in the state of Georgia, really across the country. So putting your – and that’s in fact who most of our clients are. Our clients, generally, unfortunately, are not the residents. They’re usually the daughter, the granddaughter of a resident who’s been killed in a nursing home. So the podcast was developed to answer questions that such a person would have. What would she ask herself like if she went in and saw her grandmother had a pressure wound or if her grandmother wasn’t receiving appropriate medication? What are the questions she would go home and type into Google? “What are the signs of sepsis?” “What does a chemical restraint mean?” And with that, Will and I developed episodes tackling those individual topics. So that’s kind of the main purpose of that.

And like you guys are liberal arts majors. You realize that you’re going to go to your grave not knowing a bulk of human knowledge. You could every day read all the books you could from the moment you open your eyes, the moment you close your eyes, you’re never going to know everything there is to know about everything. And that’s the same with any area of the law, even a niche area of the law like nursing home abuse and neglect. There’s so much to know. And so this podcast functions as an educational tool for us. I mean we have guests on and we learn something. Every week we learn something new, even though this is the only thing we do and this is our specialty. So that’s kind of what it was. It’s a means to help our future clients or potential people out there and to kind of help ourselves get better at this.

Smith: Yeah, you guys have educated me, both of us on this journalism that went into investigating nursing homes in the ‘70s. I can’t wait to look into this because I’m very curious.

Zilla: And we’ve learned so much from your podcast as well, just listening to the guests speaking and the questions you guys ask. I wish I had access to this knowledge when my grandma was in a nursing home herself. So I think you guys are doing a great job by putting this information out there.

Smith: And was she in one here in the States or was that back in South Africa?

Zilla: Yes, she was in South Africa, but the system is, I think, very similar to the U.S.

Smith: And that’s a very interesting thing that you bring up because we were actually just speaking with somebody in New Zealand yesterday.

Schenk: Australia.

Smith: Oh, Australia.

Schenk: Oh, we did Australia and New Zealand. Yeah, we had a guest – we had an episode with an Australian and an episode with a New Zealander.

Smith: Yeah, and it’s interesting to me to find out that there are very similar problems all the way on the other side of the world. It’s not just the U.S. It’s not just Georgia. It’s disheartening that it’s true, but it’s still enlightening.

Zilla: Yeah. Yeah, it’s definitely we all have the same issues. I think America has the medical insurance that is very unique to the U.S.

Smith: Yes.

Zilla: But as far as care and mistreatment goes, I think that is unfortunately a very universal problem that a lot of countries face. But yeah, I think to finish it all off…

Mariuxi: Yeah, so I’m going to ask if there is someone who is currently dealing with the possible mistreatment of a loved one in a nursing home, what advice would you have for them in regards to bringing the case forward and getting their loved ones the best care possible?

Smith: I think you can always start with speaking with a local attorney. And that doesn’t mean that – we talk with people all the time and simply provide sometimes direction, where to go, and sometimes it’s not us who can provide them assistance, but it’s always just easy to call an attorney and say, “Hey, what do I do?” A lot of times, honestly most of the time, we send them to a different agency or a different regulatory body because we know where they should go. But yeah, just call an attorney.

Schenk: So and then like I said, but I guess it would depend on the severity. Obviously if there’s something – if the person’s life is in danger, you want to call the police and then the next one down, you can call an attorney, call an ombudsman, call whoever the regulatory body is in that particular state. That’s what we would say.

Smith: Yeah.

Zilla: All right. Well thank you guys for having this conversation with us.

Schenk: Of course.

Smith: Of course.

Mariuxi: It was very useful and helpful for our own podcast.

Zilla: And yeah, we definitely learned stuff from you guys as well. We have to look up the statutes and all these things.

Smith: And watch that movie. It’s a really good movie.

Schenk: Yeah, we’ll shoot you an email with the link in it.

Zilla: Have a good day. Good luck with your other podcast episodes that you’re recording.

Smith: All right, thank you.

Schenk: Bye. Well I can tell you this right now – without any hesitation, without any – I don’t know what’s the word.

Smith: Reservations?

Schenk: Without any reservation – that there was no point when I was an undergrad student I would have been up at 9:30 in the morning, no question. I mean on a regular basis, it was 1 p.m. when I would wake up.

Smith: Yeah, but that’s because you were in a rock-and-roll band and you were going to gigs and staying up until…

Schenk: And just lazy. But at any rate, these fine young ladies are doing a lot of good work researching this stuff, writing about it, and they’ve got a podcast, and as we produce this episode, we don’t have a name for it yet, but they’re thinking “The Endless Fight” as the name of their podcast they’re putting out.

Smith: Their podcast.

Schenk: Their podcast.

Smith: Yeah, and I think that’s a great name.

Schenk: Yeah. And if somehow before then, we’ll put it in show notes. We’ll have Gene shoot an email about it or whatever. But at any rate, this was an interesting episode to have us interviewed, so hopefully you found that somewhat informative. I did.

Smith: Yeah.

Schenk: I did. We found the name of that author we’re going to go check out. At any rate, that’s going to conclude this particular episode of the Nursing Home Abuse Podcast. New episodes of this podcast are available every other week on Monday mornings. You can catch them on our YouTube channel or on our website, which is NursingHomeAbusePodcast.com or wherever you get your podcasts from, which would be Stitcher, Spotify – it’s not iTunes anymore.

Smith: Oh, I didn’t know.

Schenk: It’s Apple Podcasts, I think.

Smith: Ah, okay.

Schenk: See, neither of us are Apple users so we didn’t know that, and it’s been that way for probably two years.

Smith: Ah, okay.

Schenk: You can get them from Pod Puppies.

Smith: That’s not a thing.

Schenk: It is a thing. No, it’s not. But at any rate, appreciate having you and with that, we’ll see you next time.

Smith: See you next time.