A Toledo, Ohio nursing home closed in January 2013 after losing its Medicare and Medicaid provider status, receiving notice of federal fines approaching $140,000, and facing loss of its state license. Ongoing concerns regarding the quality of care led to multiple investigations by state and federal officials. The alleged, unreported assault of a resident in mid-2012 led to a push by state officials to shut the facility down.
Two state agencies opened investigations of Liberty Nursing Center of Toledo after the alleged sexual assault of a resident. The facility provides elder care and treats patients with severe mental illness. According to the Toledo Blade, nurses found a male patient on top of a female patient in her room on July 26, 2012, in what appeared to be an act of assault. The male patient had a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and a history of sexual aggression. The facility allegedly transferred the male patient to a hospital after notifying his psychiatrist. After determining that the male patient did not make sexual contact with the female patient, however, an administrator allegedly instructed staff to “clean up” the patient. She did not receive any examination after the alleged assault, and no further action was taken, including notification of law enforcement, health officials, or the woman’s guardian.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODOH) notified Liberty on August 9 that it intended to revoke the facility’s license, which would force it to close. It cited the July incident, along with other allegations of abuse, neglect, and deficiencies in quality of care. Several residents have left the facility without permission or supervision in recent years, according to ODOH.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), which oversees the state’s Medicare and Medicaid programs, notified Liberty at about the same time of its intent to terminate its provider agreement. This would cut off the facility’s access to the two programs, also forcing it to close. The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had classified Liberty as a Special Focus Facility (SFF), defined as nursing homes with an unacceptable number of deficiencies found by CMS inspectors. In the CMS report on SFFs issued on January 17, 2013, Liberty had spent twenty-six months on the list and was categorized as no longer participating in Medicare and Medicaid. DJFS said that Liberty’s last CMS inspection, on June 14, 2012, reported negatively on its care plans and sanitation.
Liberty appealed ODOH’s license revocation. A hearing was scheduled for December, but has been reset for March 2013. The facility has lost its provider agreement with DJFS and CMS, however, and the Blade reported in mid-January that it is closing. A report from November 2012 in the Blade said that CMS had fined Liberty $103,000 for regulatory violations. In January, it reported an additional $36,400 in CMS fines. The state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, who assists nursing home residents in situations such as these, worked to transfer Liberty residents to new facilities.
The nursing home attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen help residents and their families in Maryland obtain compensation for injuries caused by abuse or neglect. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949.
Special Focus Facility (“SFF”) Initiative (PDF file), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, January 17, 2013 (source)
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