Elderly people across the country rely on assisted living facilities for their care. Aging Americans are at risk from many factors, including disease and neglect, which care facilities work hard to prevent. Unfortunately, health concerns are not the only risks elderly residents face; financial exploitation and fraud account for $3 billion or more in losses by elderly residents of care facilities each year. Assisted living insurance is one of the risk management steps that assisted living facilities have adopted to protect the assets of their operations, staff, and residents, but other steps must be taken to protect against fraud. In this guide, we will look at the ways fraud prevention strategies benefit residents of care facilities in the United States.
Fraud and Financial Exploitation of Elderly Residents
Numerous studies have been conducted over the past decade, pointing to rampant fraud targeting elderly residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes. In one of the studies, it is estimated that about five percent of Americans aged 60 or over experience financial mistreatment by a trusted family member; fiduciary agents such as guardians or those granted power of attorney account for similar percentages of fraud. It isn’t only family members and trusted parties preying on the elderly – in fact, several facility owners and organizations have been implicated in massive financial fraud schemes against those they provide care for. Fraudsters target the elderly for several reasons, such as the cognitive impairment common among those aged 70 or older, or simply because many elderly people do not have a good understanding of their financial status and rights.
Protecting Seniors from Financial Abuse and Fraud
In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created a guide to assist nursing home staff and owners in fighting fraud. This preventative guide addresses many different types of financial abuse, and can help facility operators to create robust risk management solutions in an effort to protect the people they care for.
The guide consists of three major areas:
- Recognizing – this area encourages facility staff to identify potential abuse early and becoming aware of warning signs that suggest financial abuse is occurring. Thorough case review and a coordinated response effort are keys to this part of the financial fraud prevention puzzle.
- Recording – facility managers must be able to collect information about potential financial exploitation, including meeting with staff members such as maintenance personnel and housekeepers, who may enjoy familiarity with residents that caregivers do not have. Recording information helps to facilitate law enforcement investigations, helping to build a case against fraudsters.
- Reporting – the federal government has specific regulatory requirements for assisted living facilities, requiring them to report financial crimes in a timely manner. Reporting to law enforcement agencies and senior protective services organizations is part of the battle against financial exploitation. Facility managers and staff must be keenly aware of the reporting requirements to ensure adherence with regulations.
Assisted Living Insurance – the Cornerstone of Risk Management
Insurance agents know that specialty insurance products are available to protect the assets, staff, and residents of assisted living facilities. Assisted living insurance provides valuable coverage against a variety of claims, including directors and officers liability, violation of resident rights, property damage, and business interruption, among many other facets. Many of these policies also include specialized coverage for legal claims revolving around crimes committed against facility residents. Assisted living facilities must implement rigorous risk management policies, including financial exploitation and fraud prevention as well as staff training to ensure the compassionate and comprehensive care their residents deserve.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 877.226.1027.