Arkansas Nursing Homes Target of Lawsuit Stemming from Death

A horde of nursing homes is being sued as a result of alleged mistreatment of a patient between 2009 and 2011.

According to the suit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Joyce Lee Vinson was admitted in 2009 into Premier Health & Rehabilitation LLC of North Little Rock. Vinson was there until shortly before her death in December 2011.

The suit — filed by the Wilkes & McHugh law firm on behalf of Vinson’s estate — alleges that Vinson was mistreated and neglected while at the facility, listing more than a dozen infractions like injurious falls, compression fractures, pressure sores, malnutrition, dehydration, constipation, infections, poor hygiene, pain and, finally, untimely death.

The suit notes that the Arkansas Office of Long Term Care repeatedly cited Premier Health for deficiencies in care during all three years of Vinson’s residency. Medicare’s website shows that the home’s health inspection rating was “below average” in October 2012; it has since improved to “average.” It was fined $4,550 in 2010 for deficiencies.

About 20 other defendants including nursing homes, owners, holding companies and financial institutions across Arkansas and the nation are rolled up into the suit for allegedly being involved in a conspiracy to profit while neglecting patients.

“Each nursing home defendant performed a part so that their acts, although apparently independent, were in fact connected and cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of evidence,” the suit says.

It claims that one or more of the defendants used funds from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to purchase Premier Health, then profited from the lease while underfunding the facility.

Vinson’s lawyers are demanding as-yet unspecified damages. The defendants have not yet responded to the suit.