Articles Posted in Understaffing

Queens Boulevard Extended Care received 16 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on December 19, 2019. The Woodside nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three inspections by state authorities. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not provide adequate treatment and services to promote the prevention and healing of pressure ulcers and bedsores. Section 483.25(c) of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home facilities must provide treatment and services to promote the healing of pressure injuries / ulcers, and to ensure that residents admitted without pressure ulcers do not develop them unless medically unavoidable. An August 2019 citation found that Queens Boulevard Extended Care did not provide a resident with a level of treatment and services consistent with professional standards to promote the healing of their ulcers. An inspector specifically found that the facility did not implement the use of pressure relieving devices for a resident who had bilateral heel wounds. The inspector observed a Registered Nurse performing wound care treatment to both of the resident’s feet, but without putting pressure relieving devices in place after completing the wound care. A review of care records did not find any “documented evidence for the application of the use of heel protectors while in bed,” although facility policy provided for the use of pressure relief assistive devices in instances when pressure relief was warranted.

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United Hebrew Geriatric Center received 24 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 26, 2019. The New Rochelle nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of five inspections by state surveyors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did ensure residents were protected from abuse. Section 483.12 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home facilities must protect their residents’ “right to be free from abuse, neglect, misappropriation of resident property, and exploitation.” According to an August 2017 citation, the nursing home did not properly supervise its staff to identify or prevent abuse, follow up on abuse prevention education to ensure its compliance, or ensure the reporting of abuse to the facility’s administrator. As such, according to the citation, the facility did not prevent “repeated” physical and emotional abuse of a resident with dementia and dysphagia. The citation describes video evidence that showed nursing staff forcefully feeding the resident, who had a swallowing disorder, and who “grimaced” and “expressed a fearful look” during the feeding. The citation also notes that a Registered Nurse entered the room during one incident and observed a Certified Nursing Assistant “feeding and handling the resident in a rough manner,” but “did not intervene to protect the resident.” The citation identified this deficiency as a pattern of conduct that posed immediate jeopardy to resident health or safety.”

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New York nursing homes breathed a sigh of relief last week when a New York Supreme Court judge stopped the state from cutting Medicaid reimbursement funds to facilities across the state. Speaking on behalf of the nursing home industry, Ami Schnauber of LeadingAge New York told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News that the ruling is a “big relief” for its members across the state. The ruling comes after the New York Department of Health revamped its formula for determining Medicaid reimbursement rates. According to state officials, the new rates create a “more fair and accurate picture of [the needs of] nursing home patients.” 

The nursing home industry disagrees and says the state is trying to plug an unrelated budget shortfall by cutting necessary funding to the 80,000 New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid to pay for their nursing homes. While the health department says it does “not expect this change to result in any disruption to nursing home residents and the care they receive,” the nursing home industry disagreed and sued the state. In their arguments before Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor, the nursing homes said the $246 million cuts would cause “irreparable harm” to nursing home patients and force short-staffed nursing homes to lay off even more workers

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Fieldston Lodge Care Center received 38 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 14, 2019. That figure is six greater than the statewide average of 32 citations. The Bronx nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of five inspections by state authorities. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not take adequate measures to prevent and control infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home facilities “must establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program… to help prevent the development and transmission of communicable diseases and infections.” A July 2019 citation found that Fieldston Lodge Care Center failed to properly implement its disease prevention guidelines by neglecting to properly clean poles for hanging gastrostomy tube feeding, and by allowing oxygen tubing to run along the floor in spite of protocol requiring that it be maintained off the floor. A state inspector found that this lapse had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

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Jeanne Jugan Residence received 19 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to records provided by the New York State Department of Health and accessed on November 14, 2019. The Bronx nursing home also received a Federal Civil Money Penalty of $8,518.25 for citations found on a March 9, 2018 survey, according to the Long Term Care Community Coalition. Federal Civil Money Penalties are one of several remedies state and federal authorities are empowered to assess when nursing home facilities are found to fall short of minimum health and safety standards. Jeanne Jugan Residence’s 19 citations result from three inspections by state inspectors. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The facility did not ensure an environment free of accident hazards. Under Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing home facilities must provide an environment as free as possible from accident hazards, and with adequate supervision and assistive devices to ensure that residents do not sustain accidents. A March 9, 2018 inspection found that Jeanne Jugan Residence’s staff failed to adequately train and supervise a Certified Nursing Assistant to ensure that a resident’s care plan was implemented in such a manner that would prevent them from sustaining an injury. The resident specifically required the assistant of two persons “when applying a sling for stand up lift while sitting in bed, and floor mats were to be at bedside to prevent injury from falls.” The inspection found that the CNA tried to assist the resident without a second staffer’s assistance, and apparently without floor mats in place. As a consequence of this lapse, the resident fell from their bed and sustained harm to their clavicle.

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Manhattanville Health Care Center received 21 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 14, 2019. The Bronx nursing home also received Federal Civil Money Penalties of $19,505 and $12,678.25 for citations found on a May 9, 2018 survey and a May 14, 2018 survey, respectively, according to the Long Term Care Community Coalition. Federal Civil Money Penalties are one of several mechanisms state and federal authorities are empowered to enforce when nursing home facilities are found to fall short of minimum health and safety standards. Manhattanville Health Care Center’s 21 citations result from six inspections by state inspectors. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home failed to ensure it adequately administrated itself in a manner that provided for the highest possible resident well being. Section 483.70 of the Federal Code requires nursing home facilities to administer themselves in a fashion that enables the most effective and efficient use of their resources “to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.” A May 14, 2018 inspection found that Manhattanville Care Center failed to operate itself in a manner that timely provided basic life support to a resident who needed emergency care. An inspector observed a resident “unresponsive and not breathing.” A redacted number of minutes passed before staff administered CPR, and “approximately 5 minutes [passed] before 911 was activated.” The inspection found that this lapse “resulted in actual harm and the potential for serious harm to the health and safety of all residents in the facility.”

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Between 2015 and 2019, Adira at Riverside Rehabilitation and Nursing received 37 citations for violations of public health laws, according to records accessed on November 2, 2019. The Department of Health is the public entity responsible for inspecting nursing homes every 9 to 15 months to ensure compliance with state and federal health and safety laws. Adira at Riverside’s 37 citations, which resulted from three inspections, were five more than the statewide average of 32. The Yonkers nursing home’s citations include the following:

1. The nursing home failed to provide proper provide treatment and services sufficient to prevent and heal pressure ulcers and bedsores. A citation issued on December 2017, found that Adira at Riverside failed to ensure that one of three residents inspected was provided with appropriate care of pressure ulcers. Section 483.25 of the Federal Code requires that nursing homes provide residents with care adequate to prevent pressure ulcers unless otherwise unavoidable given their condition, and further, that residents suffering from pressure ulcers receive necessary treatment and services to prevent infection or the development of new ulcers. The Department of Health states specifically that the facility did not properly inflate an air mattress to the manufacturer’s recommended amount so as to provide the patient with “optimum pressure relief” while they were in bed. A surveyor found that whereas the resident’s weight was recorded as 109.6 pounds, the control box regulating the air mattress was set at 200 pounds, and that facility staff were unaware who had set the air pressure at that level or who was responsible for ensuring proper mattress inflation.

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A federal judge ruled against SensotaCare, the largest nursing home provider in New York, saying the agency violated human trafficking laws with its meager wages and “threat of serious financial harm” designed to prevent anyone from quitting. According to Newsday, Judge Gershon of the federal Eastern District of New York also found that the owners of SensotaCare, Benjamin Landa and Bent Philipson, could be held personally liable for violating the anti-trafficking laws. 

The ruling continues a decade-long saga between the corrupt owners of the nursing home and the Filipino nurses who say they were required to pay $25,000 if they ever quit their job. At one point, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota charged thirty nurses who quit en masse with endangering the welfare of children for leaving  their position. The charges were overturned by a state court because they violated the rights of the nurses to be “free from slavery.”  

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New York State agreed to pay more than $6 million to victims of abuse at a state-run nursing home in The Bronx. The settlement comes after a protracted legal battle that began more than five years ago after a series of news reports detailing physical abuse and widespread neglect at the nursing home. According to The New York Times, staff members would spit on the nursing home patient’s faces, force them to take cold showers, and physically attack the helpless patients. One family member of a nursing home resident, which is known as Union Avenue I.R.A., told the newspaper that the front desk answered the phone with, “Good morning, Bronx Zoo.”

As part of the legal settlement with New York, the nursing home abuse victims forced the state to surrender control of the facility to a private nonprofit agency. “We lost all faith that the agency can run this house effectively,” the victims said in a statement to The New York Times. Indeed, the misconduct of the nursing home was not the only problem at Union Avenue I.R.A. The lawsuit describes a dysfunctional culture where anyone who reported misconduct faced retaliation. After a state investigation found 13 instances of nursing home abuse at the Bronx facility, New York State did not fire anyone. A state-mandated arbitration process protected the confidentiality of the employees and the state merely transferred the abusers to a new facility.

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Senators released a list of 400 nursing homes with a ‘persistent record of poor care,’ according to the federal legislators. These nursing homes are not included in the federal government’s “special focus facilities” a list of nursing homes released by the government each year indicating poor care and unsafe conditions. According to the Senators, the list of 400 facilities is “virtually indistinguishable” from special focus facilities and the elder care facilities are not all lumped together only because a 2014 law imposed a cap on the number of so-called special focus facilities. Consequently, this left 400 facilities subject to heightened government scrutiny without public knowledge.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.3 million Americans are nursing home residents at 15,600 facilities across the country. The federal government identified 3 percent of these nursing homes as problematic in April. In New York, these nursing homes include New Roc Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester, The Knolls in Valhalla, and Cayuga Ridge Extended Care in Ithaca, according to LoHud.com. In addition to these nursing homes, fourteen other New York long-term care facilities were included in the list of 400 released by the Senate.

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