Residents of mental health facilities and elderly persons living in nursing homes are all too often the victims of physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Neglecting these individuals can also constitute abuse.
The TBI Medicaid Fraud Control Division also investigates and refers for prosecution those who abuse, neglect or financially exploit adults in nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, as well as some cases of Medicaid recipients who are abused, neglected or financially exploited in their own homes.
In many cases, an abused or neglected person is totally dependent on the abuser and is afraid to complain for fear of reprisal. That's why it is especially important that other people watch for these warning signs and call law enforcement if they appear. By law, citizens who have knowledge of or suspect this kind of activity are required to notify the proper authorities. The law also protects those who report abuse from being retaliated against by their employer.
- Frequent unexplained injuries or complaints of pain without obvious injury
- Burns or bruises suggesting the use of instruments, cigarettes, etc.
- Passive, withdrawn, and emotionless behavior
- Lack or reaction to pain
- Injuries that appear after the person has not been seen for several days
- Reports of physical abuse
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Injury to the genital area
- Difficulty in sitting or walking
- Fear of being alone with caretakers
- Reports of sexual assault
- Obvious malnutrition
- Lack of personal cleanliness
- Habitually dressed in torn or dirty clothes
- Obvious fatigue and listlessness
- Begs for food
- In need of medical or dental care
- Left unattended for long periods
- Reports neglect
If you suspect someone to be a victim of Patient Abuse, contact your local law enforcement department or, if applicable, the TBI's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Hotline: 1-800-433-5454. You can also send a message to TBI.MedicaidFraudTips@tn.gov.