NYS Veterans Home in NYC Cited for Infection Control

NYS Veterans Home in NYC received 31 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on December 13, 2019. The facility was also the subject of three fines from the Department of Health: a 2016 fine of $2,000 in connection to findings the facility did not comply with health code provisions concerning accident hazards; a 2015 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings it did not comply with health code provisions regarding quality of care; and a 2010 fine of $6,000 in connection to findings it did not comply with health code provisions regarding social services, accidents, and administrative procedures. The Jamaica nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three inspections by state authorities. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately ensure the prevention and control of infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code requires nursing homes to “establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program” that provides residents with a safe and sanitary living environment. A January 2018 citation found that NYS Veterans Home in NYC did not ensure its staff performed proper hand hygiene practices. An inspector specifically observed one of the facility’s Licensed Practical Nurses “handling sterile supplies with soiled gloves.” According to the citation, the LPN, while wearing gloves, put a sterile drape on the resident’s chest, then moved the resident’s garbage clan closer to her. She was then observed removing the gloves and putting on a new pair of gloves, but did not wash her hands or otherwise clean them with an alcohol-based solution. The citation states that this deficiency resulted in the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

2. The nursing home did not take properly investigate allegations of abuse and/or neglect. Under Section 483.12 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must report the results of investigations into allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment to relevant authorities in a timely manner. A July 2019 citation found that the facility did not ensure the reporting of an investigation’s results to the proper officials within five days of the underlying incident. According to the citation, a resident’s wife made a complaint to the facility’s social worker on September 12, 2018 that “there was a delay in getting the medical care needed by the resident.” An investigation of the complaint was completed on September 26, 2018 and its results were submitted to the Department of Health on October 2, 2018.. The facility’s Assistant Director of Nursing attributed the delay in the results’ submission “to the volume of… notes and number of staff to interview,” stating that it consequently “took a long time” to conclude.

3. The nursing home did not meet food storage sanitation standards. Under Section 483.35 of the Federal Code, nursing home facilities are required to “store, prepare, distribute and serve food under sanitary conditions.” A September 2016 citation found that the facility failed to ensure the sanitary storage of food items. An inspector specifically observed a pan of expired pureed fruit in a cold food prep refrigerator; a metal pan of expired sliced turkey; expired muffins; an undated pan of apple sauce; an expired pan of coleslaw; expired coriander seeds; as well as an undated sausage and undated muffins. The citation notes that the failure to discard expired food items may result in the potential for food borne illness.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents.  Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.

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