The New York State Department of Health recently released its statement of enforcements for the period of July, 2011 through December, 2012. The document lists fines levied against nursing homes and similar facilities throughout the period. The fines are the result of certification surveys taken over a span of several years prior to the enforcement period. The next several blog entries on the New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Blog will deal with these monetary penalties and the deficiencies found by the DOH that led to the fines.
On September 25, 2012, the Department of Health fined Marcus Garvey Nursing Home, located in Brooklyn, $10,000 for incidents uncovered in a February, 2011 certification survey. Of the more than twenty areas in which the DOH found Marcus Garvey deficient, the most serious involved a situation that cause actual harm to the resident.
The Code of Federal Regulations mandates that a facility must “provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical…well-being in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care.” The resident in question was a fifty year old man suffering from diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease, among other health issues. During an examination, the patient was discovered to have a dangerously high potassium level. Despite this danger, the results of the lab assessment were not given to the resident’s doctor for four days subsequent to the review. Also not reported to the physician was a sensation of numbness that the patient felt. He was taken from Marcus Garvey to a local hospital, where he died. The cause of death was reported as cardiopulmonary arrest.
The failure to report the resident’s critically high potassium level violated both the CFR and facility policy. In multiple interviews that the DOH conducted with staff members at Marcus Garvey, the consensus appears to be that critical values reported from the lab should be given immediately to the supervising physician. The physician will then issue a plan of action for the patient. Needless to say, a four to five day wait time is not immediate. In this case the delay could potentially be the cause responsible for costing this resident his life.
As mentioned above, there is a multitude of other deficiencies discovered by the Department of Health in the February, 2011 survey conducted at Marcus Garvey. Among them are failure to keep residents’ drug regimen free from unnecessary drugs; failure to keep the facility free of accident hazards; and failure to enact policies and procedures that prohibit abuse and/or neglect. To read further about these deficiencies, and to read the entire Department of Health write-up on the case study described above, visit the certification survey on the DOH website here.