Patient Abuse

Melville Johnson
April 16, 2020
Abuse within the special care system has become a significant problem over the years. Widespread reports of mistreatment and neglect have made family members of the elderly and chronically ill hesitant about admitting their loved ones into personal care facilities. The MSPB has put charges in place that hold those who commit these acts accountable.

The federal agency proves a patient abuse charge against a federal employee by preponderant evidence, by establishing: (1) Appellant engaged in described misconduct; and (2) Appellant’s described conduct placed the patient in danger or abused patient.[1]

A patient abuse charge is very popular within the Veterans Administration and other agency health organizations because this kind of misconduct strikes more seriously at this kind of agency’s mission or an employee’s duties than mistreatment of patients. Patient abuse can also include physical abuse, endangerment, threats, fraternization, and borrowing money. The Board has held that the abuse of patients harms the agency’s reputation for providing competent healthcare.

There are some defenses that may be brought forth by the federal employee should a patient abuse charge arise:

  • Whether the employee was afforded due process
  • Whether there was a credible witness to provide first-hand testimony as to examples of abuse
  • Whether there was an exaggeration of the incidents that occurred
  • Failure of adequate instruction
  • Compound or otherwise poorly framed charges may also be taken into account

The federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. are highly experienced in MSPB matters such as these, and are willing and able to assist you in your federal employment legal matters. Call or message us today to discuss your claim and learn how we can assist you.

[1] L’Bertv. VA, 88 MSPR 513 (2001).

This blog and web site published by Melville Johnson, P.C. should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney. Readers of this information should not act upon any information contained on this blog or website without seeking professional counsel.
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