The Martine Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, previously the Schnurmacher Center, in White Plains, New York received 60 complaints and 15 citations for violating New York and federal law, according to the New York State Department of Health. The Department of Health inspects each nursing home facility in the state every 9 to 15 months and publishes the results of these inspections. According to the state health care agency, the nursing home violated the following state or federal regulations on nursing home safety:
1. The nursing home did not perform criminal background checks on all of its employees. Under Section 402.6(b) of the New York Code, nursing homes must run a criminal history background check on all of its employees who come in contact with its residents. This includes completing a form and submitting two sets of the employee’s fingerprints to the Department of Health. The health inspector found that the nursing home violated this provision by forgoing a criminal background check on an employee who had direct contact with nursing home residents.
2. The nursing home did not properly install or maintain its sprinkler system. A pivotal part of the fire safety code involves a functional sprinkler system. Under Section 101 of the Life Safety Code, nursing homes must be “protected throughout by an approved automatic sprinkler system.” The New York Department of Health inspector found that the “automatic sprinkler system was not provided in all required areas.” Specifically, the exterior of the building had an awning measuring 10 feet wide and 40 feet long which did not have any sprinkler system to protect its elderly residents. Further, for areas of the nursing home that were covered by the sprinkler system, there were numerous instances of improperly maintained sprinklers. In six instances, paint covered the sprinklers – two in the dining room, two in a showering facility, one on the sidewalk, and one in a resident’s room.
3. The nursing home did not adequately use or properly maintain its electrical equipment. Under Section 101 of the Life Safety Code, extension cords in nursing homes “are not to be used as a substitute for fixed wiring of a structure. Extension cords used temporarily are removed immediately upon completion of the purpose for which it was installed.” The state health inspector found that the Martine Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing violated this regulation on three out of the six floors in its building. First, one resident’s room had their bed plugged into a “relocatable power tap.” In two other instances, a resident’s radio was plugged into another relocatable power tap, or surge protector and another resident’s room had a relocatable power tap with a phone plugged in. The IT closet had two surge protectors “daisy-chained” together and plugged into an outlet. The use of these extension cords and surge protectors can increase the risk of a fall which tends to cause more serious injuries to elderly individuals. Further, the health inspector also found that the nursing home did not have adequate policies to ensure electrical equipment is properly maintained and routinely tested, in violation of Section 483.90(i) of the Federal Code.