Samantha Grover, a nursing home caregiver, has been arraigned on multiple charges for allegedly hitting and pushing a nursing home resident.  The CNA was accused by authorities of hitting an 87-year-old patient in the face and pushing him, injuring the man’s shoulder, and then lying about the incident.  Grover was charged with first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, felonies, and willful violation of health laws, a misdemeanor.

Grover allegedly hit a male resident in the face and pushed him, causing him to trip and fall and hit his shoulder on Oct. 17, 2015 at James Square Health and Rehabilitation Centre.  The resident then “suffered from impingement syndrome on the right shoulder with a rotator cuff strain.”  Officials say Grover allegedly made a false statement to the facility about the incident.

“Nursing home aides are charged with taking care of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and must treat them with the care and respect they deserve,” Schneiderman said. “We will prosecute those medical professionals who violate the trust placed in them.”

The Post Star reported the felony arrest of Karen Robison for allegedly abusing a nursing home resident while working there as a licensed practical nurse, police said.  Robison was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person after an investigation by the Washington County Sheriff Office, authorities said. The incident happened as she worked at the Washington Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

She was accused of repeatedly pushing a disabled man into a chair and calling him “vulgar names” as she videochatted with a friend on a cellphone, showing the friend the victim as she berated him, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

McKnight’s reported that Riadel Manzano, director of nursing for Woodmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, was indicted on charges of falsifying records.  Manzano is accused of knowingly falsifying resident records in 2012 while working as the director of nursing services. She was indicted on charges of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, along with tampering with physical evidence.

Authorities allege Manzano changed records because she knew a resident had not been monitored by staff every thirty minutes, as ordered by a physician. The resident fell several times as a result of the staff’s lack of monitoring, according to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Manzano changed the records to indicate the resident had received monitoring, authorities said, and those records became part of an official investigation by the New York State Department of Health.  Three other defendants have already entered guilty pleas related to the case.

KUNC reported on how New Mexico is trying to prove that low staffing is Medicare fraud.  One of the key factors in providing quality care in nursing homes is simply having enough staff to take care of the needs of the residents. The federal government found that about a quarter of all nursing home complaints can be traced back to low staffing levels. And studies have causally connected low staff levels to poor care and deficiencies.

The state’s Attorney General is suing a chain of nursing homes because the facilities were so severely under-staffed, they couldn’t possibly have provided the care they charged for. Now New Mexico wants its money back.

Lino Lucero is “confidential witness #1” in the lawsuit. In 2007 he and his wife Linda made the tough decision to send Linda’s mother, Polly Duran, to a nursing home.  So he and his wife brought his mother-in-law to a nursing home in Santa Fe called Casa Real. They visited frequently, sometimes daily. There were always appalling discoveries.  Linda Lucero frequently cleaned her mother up and changed her sheets. The Luceros also noticed that Duran was losing weight and growing frail. Even though the doctor had told the staff that Duran needed to have her food cut into bite-size pieces, they did not always do so. So sometimes, she didn’t eat.

Lucero almost apologizes for describing the conditions there. “Not to be a distasteful person,” he says, “but the smell and the stench… not only from her, but from the other residents that were there, was horrible and deplorable. You’d walk in and you’d wish you had a mask.”

“These are companies that profited and made hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue,” about 80 percent of which came from the state of New Mexico in the form of Medicaid payments, says Hector Balderas, New Mexico’s attorney general.

In addition to Casa Real, there are six more nursing homes owned by Preferred Care Partners Management Group that are targets of this suit. “We’re trying to recover dollars back for the taxpayers of New Mexico,” says Balderas. The state is also trying to recover funds on behalf of private-pay residents.

But Balderas says that, more than money, the lawsuit is about the elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes “who suffered unnecessarily, sitting there in their own feces, sitting there in urine, developing bed sores. And some of this lack of care even resulted in death.”

So far, there are 31 confidential witnesses in this case — former nursing home employees as well as families like the Luceros. But what makes New Mexico’s suit novel, isn’t the personal accounts. It’s the data the state gathered to support its argument .

State attorneys used time and motion studies – a concept borrowed from industrial engineering — that show how long it takes health care staffers to do individual tasks. They focused on activities considered “basic care,” such as bathing, feeding, and turning residents so that they don’t get bed sores.

The attorney general’s office then compared those findings with the care required by the actual residents of the targeted nursing homes. The conclusion? It was physically impossible for the number of people employed at these nursing homes to provide the care required by the residents. So when the nursing homes billed for that care, they were lying.

They should be doing everything they can to make sure that the health, safety and welfare of these residents is met,” says Balderas, echoing the federal standards for nursing homes.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mountaineer reported on the current problems with SavaSeniorCare’s facility in Waynesville, N.C.  Presently, the Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation of Waynesville is under investigation for allegations of misconduct by staff.  The facility has a history of problems and has demonstrated a pattern of problems that is a cause for concern for North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services inspectors.  Brian Center’s parent company, Sava Senior Care, is a nationwide company that owns and operates the facility.  Sava has facilities in 22 states including 33 in North Carolina and several in South Carolina.

Amid concerns of mismanagement, a spokesperson for Sava Senior Care, the parent company of the Brian Center, confirmed that staff changes have been made at the center.  “I can confirm that we have made changes with Gail Robertson and Jerry Horne. The changes were effective last week,” said company representative Annaliese Impink.

Caregiver employee Luis Gomez has been arrested on the charge of second-degree forcible rape. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are being considered.  Waynesville police say a nurse from the Brian Center contacted them in February about the allegations against Gomez. They say he sexually assaulted a woman at the nursing home who was physically incapable of caring for herself.  Police say there could be as many as four victims at the Brian Center, with Gomez a suspect in all of them.

In addition to the criminal investigation, the facility has been under scrutiny from health inspectors as recently as December 2015, when it was cited for 12 deficiencies conducted by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Click here for link to full report.

The facility failed to develop a comprehensive care plan for a patient with known wandering problems.  The patient was known to wander into other patients’ rooms.

The facility was also cited for failing to remain free of accident hazards, noting that two of four biohazard boxes were found unlocked.

On two occasions, patient’s daily living needs had not been met. One involved a patient who was left sitting in bed all day; the other involved a patient who needed to be shaved and showered, but was not.

The center was also cited for failing to provide podiatry treatment for a diabetic patient. Such treatment is critical for diabetic patients who are especially at risk for foot injuries due to nerve damage and / or poor circulation. The inspector interviewed the patient who revealed that he would like his toenails trimmed as they had become uncomfortable.  The report states that upon visual inspection, “the toe nails on both feet were jagged, yellowed, thick, and one quarter to one half inch beyond the end of each toe.”

According to inspection records: “The continued failure of the facility during two federal surveys of record shows a pattern of the facility’s inability to sustain an effective quality assessment and assurance program.”

The Brian Center is a Medicare-approved facility and as such is listed on the Nursing Home Compare section of Medicare’s website, where it is listed with an overall ranking in the lowest possible category of one star, “Much below average.” The ranking is influenced by such factors as health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.

A search of the Nursing Home Compare section of the Medicare website turned up 32 locations owned by Sava Senior Care (the 33rd location listed on the Sava Senior Care website, Forest City Health and Rehabilitation, did not appear in the search) throughout the state, the majority of which received a ranking of average or below. Eight locations were listed as much below average, nine were below average, and seven were average. Eight were listed as above or much above average.

The owners of Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory nursing home are appealing a $50,000 fine imposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Steve Blisko, who is the principal investor in Senior Healthcare Management operates Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory.

IDPH cited Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory after Juanita Simmons died on March 12, 2015.  She was found dead, strapped to a wheelchair at the bottom of a flight of stairs.  Video surveillance evidence showed Simmons sitting alone in the hallway and staring at a soda machine; minutes later her body was found in the stairwell.

Loretta Jean Ulmer, a sister of Simmons, said she called the state’s nursing home hot line at least 10 times to report suspicions about Simmons being abused. The state keeps those calls confidential and would not confirm there were calls about Simmons.

State inspection reports noted violence between residents that included kicking, hitting and, in one incident, a resident pulling another resident out of a wheelchair, causing a fractured shoulder. State reports also stated residents said there wasn’t enough staff to properly administer care, with there being only four nurse’s aides to provide care for up to 180 patients.

 The nursing home called for an ambulance, but did not inform law enforcement. After emergency medical personnel confirmed Simmons was dead, family members contacted a funeral home in Montgomery County, and a representative from the funeral home picked up the body.  The funeral home director at some point called the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office to ask what type of death certificate was to be issued. Coroner’s office personnel told the funeral director that they had not been notified of the death. In the case of an accidental death, the coroner’s office must sign the death certificate. Under Illinois law, the coroner is charged with investigating accidental deaths in hospitals and nursing homes.

 

The nursing home filed a plan of correction in response to an IDPH inspection a week after Simmons’ death. As part of that plan, nursing home personnel were to keep doors to stairwells closed and turn up the alarm on the stairwell door.

“The alarm on the stairwell door is set to ‘instant.’ The instant setting for this particular alarm requires a key code entry to silent the alarm. The alarm will continue sounding even after the door shuts until someone keys in the shut-off code,” the plan stated.

In addition, the facility agreed to:

▪  Outfit patients at risk to wander with alarms.

▪  Train staff on elopement policies.

▪  Reassess residents to determine if they are at-risk to wander.

▪  Have its administrator conduct random observation on stairwell doors and alarms and conduct weekly checks on exterior doors.

An administrative law judge has scheduled a hearing into whether the facility should pay the $50,000 fine.  The hearing is scheduled for April 27 at 9 a.m. in Springfield, according to Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.   See full articles at Bloomberg News here and here.

Bloomberg News reported on a new pilot program from CMS to reduce hospitalizations of nursing home residents.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will test whether a new payment model for nursing facilities and practitioners will further reduce avoidable hospitalizations, cut combined Medicare and Medicaid spending and improve the quality of care received by nursing facility residents, an agency statement said.  A January report from the CMS showed the seven provider organizations involved with the program reduced avoidable hospitalizations among long-stay nursing home residents and lowered Medicare spending .

Through this model, the CMS will encourage health-care practitioners to provide additional treatments for especially ill or frail nursing home residents.    Removing potential barriers to effective treatment within a skilled nursing facility can improve residents’ care experience and mitigate the need for disruptive and costly hospitalizations, according to the agency.

Specifically, the newly announced pilot project “seeks to reduce avoidable hospitalizations among beneficiaries eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid by providing new payments to practitioners for engagement in multidisciplinary care planning activities,” the statement said. In addition, the CMS noted participating skilled nursing facilities will receive payment to provide additional treatment for common medical conditions that often lead to avoidable hospitalizations.

Six provider organizations will participate in the pilot project, each of which participated in the initiative’s first phase. The participating providers are the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation; HealthInsight of Nevada; Indiana University; the Curators of the University of Missouri; the Greater New York Hospital Foundation Inc.; and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Community Provider Services.

The intent of the CMS with the initiative is for skilled nursing providers to use additional revenue to maintain appropriate staffing, equipment and technology necessary for caring for a higher-acuity population.

Arkansas Online reported the sentencing of disgraced and corrupt Arkansas Circuit Judge Michael Maggio who got caught reducing the verdict in a nursing home case for campaign contributions.  Maggio has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to reducing a jury’s verdict in exchange for campaign contributions. Last year, Maggio admitted to lowering a jury’s judgment from $5.2 million to $1 million in a negligence lawsuit involving a nursing home. The gross reduction came as a result of contributions made to his 2014 campaign for the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

The nature and circumstances of this offense are repulsive,” federal prosecutors wrote in a document filed in U.S. District Court. “In essence, Maggio sold a verdict as a means to obtain a higher judicial office.”

Maggio’s plea agreement implicated at least two other people who were not identified by name: the owner of a nursing home sued for negligence and a fundraiser for Maggio, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered in September 2014 that Maggio be removed from office as a result of issues unrelated to the case. Those issues included confidential information revealed online regarding an adoption case involving actress Charlize Theron.

Meanwhile, Maggio’s attorneys asked the federal court to grant leniency, stating that their client has already suffered humiliation and that a “chronic and dire medical condition warrants a below-guideline sentence.”  Hopefully, they can give him a room at the nursing home that neglected the resident he screwed over.

 

NBC4 reported that Autumn Care Center is at the center of another investigation into a disturbing trend in nursing homes involving workers taking degrading photos of residents and posting them on social media.  An investigation by the non-profit ProPublica found more than 35 such cases, often involving dehumanizing photos of patients with dementia. In every one of those cases nursing home patients were videotaped using cell phones, including one local case in Newark.

Records show last February at Autumn Care Center, a Newark nursing home, video was posted to Snapchat by an employee.  In the Newark case, a nursing assistant taught and videotaped two dementia patients how to sing “I love coco,” a rap song reference to cocaine. After the investigation, she was terminated.

NBC4 went to the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Ohio to ask about patients being used in this manner.

These residents have a right for dignity and respect and this is clearly a breach in their privacy,” said Vince McGrail, Executive Director.  “With the ability to take photos or videos and put them out on a tool like Snapchat those images go away almost immediately, it is a real issue we have heard about across the country,” McGrail said.