Click to Learn About a Scam Nursing Home Residents Must Watch Out For!

The majority of nursing home residents are vulnerable to abuse due to either their weakened physical or mental health. The abuse can manifest itself in various forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and now...financial abuse.

Last week, insurance agent, Kimberly Bisslessi Eddins, pleaded not guilty in Mobile, Alabama's federal court to allegations that she involuntarily enrolled nursing home patients in insurance plans to obtain commissions from her employer. According to the indictment, from December 2008 through June 2009, Eddins enrolled residents of the Citronelle Convalescent Center in an insurance plan provided by her employer, Coventry Health Care by using their names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. By signing up the residents, Eddins received commissions on the sales that totaled around $3,800. Eddins' actions cost the residents hundreds of dollars in premium fees. The indictment does not disclose how Eddins' obtained the residents' personal information, although some suspect that Eddins' may have had help from someone inside the nursing home.

Although Eddins' crime took place in Alabama, it serves to highlight how vulnerable nursing home residents are to financial abuse. The prevalence of financial abuse within nursing homes is sometimes forgotten as news stories of physical and emotion abuse often take priority over those pertaining to financial abuse. However, financial abuse can be devastating to a resident, and it often takes years to sort out.

Nursing home staff or family members can financially abuse a resident in numerous ways by:

1. Stealing personal information to obtain credit
cards, to sign them up for unwanted programs, or to drain their bank account
2. Stealing personal property
3. Preying on their weakened mental state and persuading them to change a will, trust, or
deed in their favor.
4. Withholding payment for needed residential services or by being late in payments (pertains to
family members only)

You can be on the look-out for signs of financial abuse. If you have access to your loved ones' financial records, be vigilant of any sudden financial changes and monitor any unusual fluctuations in your loved ones' bank account. Watch out for frequent payment to unknown insurance companies or telemarketing promotions and keep an eye out for missing personal property in their room. If you are a caregiver at a nursing home, look for signs of financial abuse by family members, such as a resident frequently writing out checks written to cash for large sums of money (usually to a family member), or a resident frequently having insufficient funds for needed personal items and services.

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