Where to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Georgia
The most direct method for reporting nursing home abuse in Georgia is to call Healthcare Facility Regulation at 1-800-878-6442 and file a complaint. You can also report a complaint to a state or regional ombudsman.
Nursing homes have a legal duty to protect their residents from abuse. If a nursing home fails to take the right preventative measures, and a resident falls victim to abuse, then the facility may be liable for any resulting injuries or trauma. This means the nursing home may be responsible for related medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.
Report Nursing Home Abuse to the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division
The Georgia Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division is responsible for regulating Georgia nursing homes. The Healthcare Facility Regulation Division (HFRD) investigates complaints made by nursing home residents and residents’ families.
Currently, there are three ways to report Georgia nursing home abuse to the HFRD.
- Telephone: 1-800-878-6442. You will be prompted to leave a voicemail message. Please make sure to leave a clear and succinct message. Provide you name and callback number, the name of the resident, the nursing home, and a very brief description of what occurred.
- Online Complaint Form. Go to the website for the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division and fill out the online complaint submission form. You will be prompted for information, including facility name, date of incident, and a description of what occurred.
- Fax: (404) 657-5731. You may also fax your complaint. Be sure to include all pertinent information.
Please do not be frustrated if no one responds immediately. There are over ten thousand nursing home facilities in Georgia. As you can imagine, complaints are made daily from facilities across Georgia. While it may take hours or days for a response, HFRD will contact you.
Often, HFRD will conduct an investigation of the complaint. Investigation means performing an unannounced inspection of the nursing home. Once completed, you will be provided with documentation concerning the result. This process may take several weeks to a few months.
If HFRD finds that abuse occurred, then the nursing home may be cited. Information regarding rule violations can be found on CMS Nursing Home Compare website. For more information, please check out the Nursing Home Abuse Podcast Episode 84: How to Read Georgia Inspection Reports.
Report Nursing Home Abuse to the Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman
You may also report nursing home abuse to the Georgia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.The Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocate on behalf of Georgia nursing home residents.
There are two ways to report Georgia nursing home abuse to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
- Telephone: (866) 552-4464. This is the main office line. You will likely be redirected to the regional office in which the resident resides.
- Online Complaint Form. Go to the website for the Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman and fill out the online submission form.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program trains community representatives to advocate for nursing home residents. Ombudsmen try to ensure that nursing home residents enjoy the highest possible quality of life, and that their requests and wishes are honored.
Ombudsman are allowed nearly unfettered access to nursing homes. Their investigations include everything from abuse and neglect to infringement of rights. Learn more about the Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman here:
- Who are the Georgia LTC Ombudsman and What do they Do?
- Using the Long-Term Care Ombudsman to Report Problems
- What is the Role of the Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman?
Report Nursing Home Abuse to Local Law Enforcement
Report nursing home abuse to your local law enforcement. Local law enforcement having jurisdiction over the matter will typically be the police department of the city where the nursing home is located (as opposed to the Country Sheriff).
If your loved one is in immediate jeopardy, report the nursing home abuse to local law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.
If your loved one is not in immediate jeopardy, call the city police department in which the nursing home is located and ask to file a report. Most likely, the police department will dispatch an officer to meet you at the nursing home or request that you go to the department to file a report.
Responding officers will take down your information and get your side of the events. Sometimes, their preliminary investigation will also include interviewing persons at the nursing home or healthcare workers providing treatment to the resident. Always ask for a copy of the report, or for information on how to obtain the report once it is concluded.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect is not always treated as a crime. Many officers, depending on the evidence, will refer to the situation as a “civil matter.” So, the police will not always file a report or even complete an investigation. Do not be discouraged if this happens. You still have rights and the nursing home may be liable for what happened in a court of law.
Report Nursing Home Abuse to the Administrator
You should also consider reporting abuse to the Administrator of the nursing home. All nursing homes are required by law to receive complaints from residents and to conduct internal investigations once a complaint is received.
You can report abuse to the Administrator of the nursing home by going to the facility and asking to file a written grievance.
Once you make the request for the grievance form, fill out all pertinent information. Ask for a copy of the grievance and provide your contact information. Nursing homes are required to provide you with the results of the internal investigation, so you want to make sure you provide the facility with a way to receive that document.
Reporting a grievance to the nursing home is important for several reasons:
- Notice. Your grievance will likely qualify as legal notice of the abuse.
- Records. The nursing home’s investigation and results will likely produce documents and statements that may be used later in criminal or civil proceedings.
- Policy Change. Sometimes investigations of grievances result in policy changes at the nursing home. This means that the chances of the injury happening to another resident may be reduced.
If your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, and you are wondering if you have a claim, please feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home abuse lawyers today. Our consultations are always free. If you would like more information about this topic, be sure to click on our other videos, or better yet, click the subscribe button to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thank you.