had an article about a Rock Hill, S.C. charged with stealing money from patients at the nursing home where she worked.   Melissa Kelly was the business manager at Magnolia Manor on Murrah Drive in Rock Hill. She has been charged with one count of forgery, and one count of elder exploitation.  Magnolia Manor is part of the chain of THI and Fundamental nursing homes.

Kelly was fired from her job last fall after an internal audit uncovered more than $65,000 of company checks that were forged and then cashed. "The more we dug, the more blatant it became," said detective David Hanoka who spent four months investigating the case.

Hanoka said dozens of nursing home patients lost money since April of 2006 without ever knowing it.  Many of the nursing home residents on Medicaid or Medicare have small trust accounts used for spending money. The money is often petty cash that’s used for small day to day items. Those are the accounts police say were stolen from.

"This money was never distributed to the individuals it should’ve been distributed to," Hanoka said.

Instead, police believe Kelly forged and cashed the checks. Police said it’s not clear how much of the missing $65,000 she is responsible for. Police focused their investigation on just 14 cases they say took place in 2008.

The state attorney general’s office will continue the investigation, and prosecute the case.

Joy Patterson, the administrator at Magnolia Manor, told the media that the company was not ready to release a statement yet, but would soon.

Tulsa World had an article about the recent arrest of a nursing home employee.  Edward Lee Marshall was arrested for committing a sexual offense on a blind and physically handicapped patient, and caretaker abuse.

“The complaint was that Mr. Marshall was giving a patient a bath and he was actually masturbating the person,” Choate said. “The incident was reported by another employee who allegedly saw the incident.”

Scott Pilgrim, Southtown Nursing owner, tried to explain away the sexual assault and battery.

“Our nurse saw something that might have been inappropriate and this was a male to male situation. … Because we felt something might have been inappropriate, we called the police to investigate,” Pilgrim said.  “There might be nothing to this, but we felt the authorities must make that call,” Pilgrim said. “Because our resident safety and well being is what we stand for, we took this action.”

Marshall worked as a restorative aide and provided various types of therapy to residents, but nursing home owner Scott Pilgrim said Marshall is no longer employed there.

In 2006, Marshall was arrested for driving under the influence and other traffic offenses, jail records show.

How long had he worked at the nursing home? Did any other resident ever complain about his care?  Why did they fire him if they think nothing happened?  Did they offer to give him a polygraph test?


 Richard Wagamese had a revealing story for the Calgary Herald about accountability and the preventable death of a friend’s loved one at a nursing home.  Below are excerpts and a summary of that tragic story.  The mother of one of his friends was found frozen to death outside the nursing home the day after Christmas. She was 84 year-old and had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.   Her name was Juliette (Julie) Bombardier and she was a great-grandmother, grandmother, wife, friend, confidante and valued member of her community.

Mr. Wagamese mentions that Julie inexplicably managed to get out of doors that were ostensibly locked, but are often propped open by staff who pop outside for a smoke. In the early morning hours, dressed in a nightgown, she froze to death in a snowdrift, a few yards from that door. She died there, alone and unprotected. Nearly three hours after the search for her was initiated, my friends were there when she was discovered.

The real tragedy according to Mr. Wagamese in Julie’s death is not the loss itself.  It’s the refusal of the company that runs the nursing home to take responsibility. Instead of saying, "there was a failure in our system that resulted in a death and we’re taking immediate steps to prevent it happening again" and honouring the loss of Juliette Bombardier, they rely on the standard "we’re conducting our own internal investigation". There doesn’t need to be an investigation. The system failed. Period.

The obfuscation and shrugging off of direct responsibility is a dishonouring of Julie’s death and a dishonouring of her family’s grief.

They tell us that all the doors were locked until staff had finished their search of the building.  What they are asking all of us to believe is that an 84-year-old dementia patient managed to negotiate her way through a secure facility, passed trained supervisory staff, out a locked door and then somehow managed to lock it behind herself again and froze to death.

To suggest we believe that is a dishonouring of everyone.  There are a lot of seniors in care in such facilities all across the country. They are not just Alzheimer’s patients, stroke victims, addled, debilitated, frail, helpless or needy. They’re somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s mother and somebody’s friend. They are not numbers in a ledger, not a part of somebody’s financial bottom line — they are a part of our collective history and they are valuable.

Richard Wagamese, a former Calgary Herald columnist, is the 2007 recipient of the Canadian Authors Association Award for fiction and a former National Newspaper Award-winning columnist. had a tragic story about the rape and abuse of a resident at the hands of a nursing home employee.  Why aren’t these people checked and supervised?  How can this happen to the most vulnerable citizens?  How many others were raped and abused by this villian?  Was a criminal background check done?

The accused employee was a former janitor at a nursing home in Normandy. He has been accused of raping an elderly resident. Santonio McCoy of St. Louis is charged with forcible rape. He is accused of attacking a woman at the home.

McCoy turned himself into Normandy police on Wednesday last week. He is being held in lieu of a $200,000 cash bond. McCoy had worked at the nursing home for about a year, Madigan said. The attack was interrupted when three workers at the home walked by. had a story about a nursing home patient who was threatened with eviction from her facility because she couldn’t pay her bill has been allowed to stay.  The WBAL TV 11 News I-Team detailed the story of Melanie Conaway, a multiple sclerosis patient. A nursing home called Future Care Northpoint in Dundalk was about to discharge her against her wishes because of an alleged outstanding bill.

Conaway said she wondered about her future, where she would live and who would handle her health care needs. "There is nothing I can do," Melanie Conaway told I-Team reporter Barry Simms on Thursday. "All they did was come in and say they haven’t received the full payment, so I can’t stay here any longer."  But under a last-minute settlement, Conaway will remain at the nursing home.

The whole dispute focused on a $300 a month payment — alimony Conaway is supposed to receive from a divorce settlement. The funds are considered income and must be used for her nursing home stay, Simms reported.

By law, Future Care may have the legal (but not the moral) right to evict Conaway because the unpaid debt had grown to $2,500, but the nursing home finally agreed (after the story went public) to give Legal Aid time to pursue a claim against her ex-husband and possibly garnish his wages.

The Tampa Tribune had an article about a resident missing from a nursing home.  How can the facility allow a vulnerable elderly person to wander way from the facility?  Who is supervising the residents? Why didn’t the door alarm go off?  Or did the staff fail to respond to the alarm?  Were they short-staffed?

A search is under way for Carl Seiden who disappeared from The Fountains, his assisted living facility in North Tampa.  Seiden suffers from dementia.  The sheriff’s office describe him as 6 feet tall with a thin build and beard. He walks with a cane and was last seen wearing brown pants and a beige shirt, the sheriff’s office said.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (813) 247-0929.

Colleen Jenkins of the St. Petersburg Times had an article on the conditions of abused residents and the failure to prosecute the health care providers to the fullest extent of the law.  The article explains the living conditions in Daphne Jones’ boarding home in West Tampa.   After finding elderly and disabled people crammed into windowless bedrooms without air conditioning or enough drinking water in August 2007, authorities arrested Jones on 18 felony counts of adult abuse.  Jones pled guilty to a single misdemeanor count, for which she will serve six months of probation and 25 hours of community service. Her attorney said the whole ordeal had been overblown.

Prosecutors offered little explanation for the lack of a jail sentence.

Jones had pulled a bait-and-switch scheme. Some residents’ family members said they thought their loved ones were living in Jones’ 6,000-square-foot gated mansion in Temple Terrace. The property was licensed by the state as an adult family care home.  The families were upset to learn their loved ones had been moved to the boarding house, sharing one bathroom and sleeping on bunk beds.

Tampa police officers arrived on Aug. 9, 2007, after receiving a tip about neglect.  The air conditioning had been broken and the residents were dehydrated.   Goudie said she took the deposition of one former resident who had bad things to say about the boarding house. The woman substantiated the information about the air conditioning.

Elrod Curry, 64, of Plant City, said his family had suspected that "something strange" was going on at the boarding house where his sister, Rosa Wilson, lived, but she couldn’t tell them much because her mind came and went. He said Thursday that Jones’ sentence seemed too light.

In 2003, a federal judge sentenced Jones to 24 months of probation and ordered her to pay $41,000 in restitution to the Social Security Administration after she misrepresented her financial situation when applying for benefits for her son, who has cerebral palsy.

After her most recent arrest, the state Agency for Health Care Administration fined Jones $20,000 and revoked her license for not cooperating with the agency.

On Thursday, she pleaded guilty to culpable negligence. That charge resulted from one elderly female resident who had to be hospitalized for severe dehydration after police arrived.


This entry is a follow-up to the entry about a resident in Concord, N.C. who was allowed to wander away from the nursing home and fll off a loading dock.  A state investigation shows that a nursing home in Concord made several mistakes, which played a role in the death of a patient.  The 21-page report says that the staff and director of Five Oaks Manor knew that 87-year-old Annie Bell Scarboro was at risk for wandering because she had wandered off before.

State inspectors from the Department of Health and Human Services went into Five Oaks Manor in December after the Alzheimer’s patient died. The report shows Scarboro got through three sets of doors unsupervised.

First, she went through the dining room doors. A worker says those doors hadn’t locked properly for at least eight months. Then, Scarboro went through the kitchen doors and out a back door leading to the loading dock. The back door, according to the report, had no alarm.

Scarboro fell 4 feet off the loading dock .The "merry walker" chair she used to get around landed on top of her. A nurse who found Scarboro told inspectors, "I went out there and saw her blood was running everywhere."

A nursing assistant at Five Oaks told investigators, "Everyone knew that she wandered around. We all knew that she did that. She got out that kitchen door before."  The report shows that on May 22, 2008, Scarboro had exited the building through the same kitchen door.   The solution then was to check on her every 15 minutes.

The state investigation found the nursing home failed to meet several federal standards of care, meaning Five Oaks could be forced to pay a big fine and could lose their funding altogether.

NewsChannel 36 tried to get comment from the director, but he hung up on us.

To view the full 21-page report, click here.   The report does not mention the staffing levels at the time of the incident.

McKnight’s had an article about health care spending.  The article states that Federal spending on nursing home and home health accelerated in 2007, even as overall healthcare spending grew at the slowest rate since 1998, according to a new spending report issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Freestanding nursing home spending expanded by 4.8% that year, compared with 4.0% in 2006. Meanwhile, spending for freestanding home healthcare services increased to 11.3%.   Overall healthcare spending climbed by 6.1% in 2007 to $2.2 trillion, or $7,421 per person. Total healthcare spending by public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, grew 6.4% in 2007, a deceleration from 8.2% 2006.

One of the factors contributing to the overall slower growth in federal healthcare spending was a deceleration in prescription drug spending due to an increased use of generic medication. Retail prescription drug spending grew by 4.9% in 2007, compared with 8.6% growth in 2006, according to the report.


The Supreme Court of Missouri in Lawrence v. Beverly Manor affirmed the circuit court decision  that wrongful death claimants were not bound by an arbitration agreement and could bring a court action for their relative’s wrongful death.  

The Missouri Supreme Court in Ward v. National Healthcare Corporation affirmed the circuit court’s decision because the resident’s relative signed the agreement that included an arbitration clause but the relative was not power of attorney or legal guardiand therefore the arbitration clause was not enforceable.

These opinions are very encouraging.  It is ridiculous that nursing homes want residents and their families to agree to waive their right to a jury trial.  Most of the residents don’t even know what they are signing or what arbitration means.

Hopefully, the Arbitration Fairness Act will soon pass and consumers will not need to worry about such unconscionable clauses in the nursing home admissions contracts.