St. Mary’s Center Cited for Unnecessary Medication

St. Mary’s Center received 26 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on February 7, 2020. The Manhattan nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home failed to prevent residents from taking unnecessary drugs. Section 483.45 of the Federal Code requires that nursing home facilities maintain “each resident’s drug regimen… free from unnecessary drugs.” A March 2017 citation found that St. Mary’s Center did not ensure each of its residents drug regimens were free of unnecessary drugs. An inspector specifically found that one of its residents was administered a certain anti-psychotic medication “without a clear continued indication for use, and without an attempt at gradual dose reduction within the last year.” The citation states that the resident was documented as having intact cognition, “no mood or potential indicators” of a redacted medical condition, “no hallucinations and no delusions,” as well as “no physical or verbal… behaviors noted.” The citation also states that there was no documented evidence that the facility attempted to gradually reduce the resident’s medication dosage, in accordance with federal regulations. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the reduction of the medication and continued monitoring of the resident.

2. The nursing home failed to prevent residents from taking unnecessary psychotropic medications. Section 483.45 of the Federal Code also requires that nursing homes ensure residents are not administered unnecessary psychotropic medications, which the code defines as “any drug that affects brain activities associated with mental processes and behavior.” A September 2019 citation found that two residents at Saint Mary’s Home were prescribed psychotropic medications for a redacted condition “with no evidence of behaviors to support the ongoing use of” medication for that condition, and without any attempted gradual dose reductions within the previous two years. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the evaluation of both residents by a psychiatrist and attending physician, and the completion for one resident of a gradual dose reduction.

3. The nursing home did not ensure residents were provided necessary treatment and devices to maintain their hearing and vision faculties. According to Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must ensure their residents “receive proper treatment and assistive devices to maintain vision and hearing abilities.” A September 2019 citation found that St. Mary’s Home did not ensure a resident was provided with adequate treatment to maintain their vision. The citation states specifically that the facility did not schedule a follow-up ophthalmology appointment, as indicated in the medical record, for a resident “with visual impairments.” In an interview, the facility’s Assistant Director of Nursing said that “since the consult documented that the eye clinic would schedule the visual field and follow-up of reduced vision, the facility did not follow-up with the office to make the appointment.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the scheduling of the appointment and an audit of the facility “to determine that all consults are appropriately scheduled.”

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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