Manhattan nursing home Rivington House–The Nicholas A Rango Health Care Facility, was fined $10,000 in September 2011. After an investigation in July, 2010, the Department of Health found deficiencies that resulted in actual harm at the facility, leading to the penalty. In short, the DOH determined that Rivington House failed to provide necessary care for the highest practicable well-being of its residents.
Per the Code of Federal Regulations, “[E]ach resident must receive and the facility must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care.” The resident reviewed by the DOH was a known drug abuser found in his bathroom with drug paraphernalia. Although found with these banned substances in his room, the staff did not fully assess what substances the resident had taken and in what amounts. Staff also did not inform the resident’s treating physician of the incident. On the day after finding the drug equipment, the man collapsed and died in front of nursing home staff.
The facility’s policy on drug abuse is to notify the physician in order to conduct an evaluation of the individual. Based upon the DOH findings, this was not done. In an interview conducted by the Department of Health after the incident, the Medical Director admitted that “the MD should have been informed or that the resident should have been transferred to the hospital for evaluation.”
Drug abusers cannot be expected to responsibly handle their own individual addictions. When an addiction is coupled with underlying physical and mental issues (the resident at Rivington House suffered from dementia and Hepatitis-C, among other ailments), this level of personal responsibility diminishes even further. Even had Rivington House not violated the CFR, it still would have circumvented its own policies and procedures when the resident was not evaluated by a physician following his incident. Perhaps this man’s death would have been avoided; perhaps it would not have. The fact remains that failure to follow both federal regulations and internal policies placed this resident in jeopardy, warranting the fine from the Department of Health.
Additional deficiencies at Rivington House for the same time period can be found here on the Department of Health website.