The Times Herald-Record had an article on Sapphire Nursing and Rehab at Goshen. The residents’ experience includes being “caked in excrement for hours, waiting 30 minutes or more for aides to respond to call bells, getting meals an hour late, receiving the wrong food, and wandering off unattended for extended periods.” The allegations come after the state Health Department’s recently launched investigation into complaints at the 120-bed home following significant staff cuts by its new owners.
A renowned nursing home researcher said the home’s staffing levels appear to be potentially hazardous and below safe industry standards. “They have very bad, dangerous staffing,” said Charlene Harrington, an emeritus professor of nursing at the University of California San Francisco, who helped the Record analyze the home’s staffing data. “They’re going to have a lot of bad things happen with those staffing levels.”
“The care of my mother by the new owners has made me sick,” said Majorie Fox of the Town of Wallkill, whose mother, Florence, is a Sapphire resident. “I have been to the doctor with high blood pressure. I’ve spoken about the cuts to everyone at Sapphire and the Department of Health when they were there.”
Sapphire Regional Administrator Jay Pepper acknowledged the home’s new owner, Goshen Operations, LLC – which bought the former Elant home and its three sister facilities in the fall – had “hit some bumps in the road” with staff resignations and “slight” staff cuts.
Between layoffs and resignations from September to December, Sapphire’s nurse tally plummeted 54 percent to 15 licensed practical nurses and two registered nurses, who are supervisors, according to 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the employees’ union. Before the cuts, there had been 12 RNs and 25 LPNs, the union said. In addition, more than a half-dozen of the home’s leaders and staff members, from administrators to kitchen help, have either resigned or been laid off since mid-December, and the home’s certified nursing assistant total is down 10 to 59, according to the union.
In recent weeks, the Record has communicated with about a dozen current and former staff members, relatives of residents and one former patient. The consensus: The home has skidded far and fast downhill since new owners took over in September. Goshen Operations, LLC, promised “no significant changes to staffing levels” to the state Department of Health when it bought the four facilities in the fall.
Based on a full home, in a typical day, Sapphire’s Goshen location provides 1.87 hours of care per patient per day from CNAs, 0.73
from LPNs and no dedicated non-supervisor RN hours. The home should provide 2.58 from CNAs, 0.71 from LPNs and 1.32 from RNs based on the home’s federally reported acuity level, Harrington said. Harrington said “the facility appears to have over-reported its staffing by a lot” to the federal government, based on Sapphire’s Medicare filings. “You can compare what the union reports as actual staffing with what they should have and see that they only have a small percent of what they should have.”