According to the New York State Health Department’s website, the Highpointe on Michigan Health Care Facility, a 300-bed nursing home in Buffalo, New York, received 67 percent more citations than other state nursing homes. From April 2010 through March 2014, the Department of Health (DOH) received 119 complaints about the facility. On average, the state received 44.6 complaints per 100 occupied beds; the statewide average is 34.3 complaints per 100 occupied beds. As a result, Highpointe had 23 percent more complaints than other nursing homes. From the same time period, the nursing home was issued 17 citations by the DOH. Eleven of the citations were for quality-of-care issues. On average, Highpointe received 6.4 citations per 100 occupied beds. The state average is 2.1 citations per 100 occupied beds. In addition, Highpointe had 62 deficiencies from April 2010 through March 2014, 46 percent higher than the statewide average of 33 deficiencies. Most of the deficiencies were related to the quality of care provided to the residents.
From April 2013 through December 2013, the DOH gave the facility a poor rating (only one out of five stars) for having a high number of residents suffering from bed sores. On average 7.7 percent of New York nursing home residents have pressure sores. However, 13.7 percent of Highpointe’s patients suffered from bed sores, which can lead to severe medical complications if left untreated. In addition, the facility received a low score (two out of five stars) for helping to manage patients’ pain. On average 14.6 percent of nursing home residents reported experiencing moderate to severe pain. However, 21 percent of Highpointe’s residents reported such concerns.
On December 3, 2013, the DOH issued the facility a citation for a medication error that had the potential to cause harm to a resident. The citation indicated that the problem was not just an isolated incident; rather, it is a pattern throughout the facility. According to the DOH’s report, one resident suffering from diabetes did not receive her medication in an appropriate fashion. On two separate occasions, the resident suffered from low blood sugar as a result of the medication error. In one instance, a registered nurse became confused about a doctor’s orders about administering a patient’s diabetes medication. Rather than call the doctor to clarify the instructions, she took it upon herself to change the order on her own. Due to “human error” and lack of communication, the DOH concluded, “the resident received sixteen additional doses of Lantus insulin over a 13 day period between 10/23/13 and 11/4/13 and the resident experienced two separate incidents of hypoglycemia.”
In April 2014, 17 nurses and nurse’s aides were arrested and charged with felonies for neglecting a Highpointe patient. The cases are currently being prosecuted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.