A nursing home in Greenwood, Mississippi could lose all of its funding through the Medicare and Medicaid programs if it fails to correct certain problems alleged by the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that administers both programs, recently notified Greenwood’s Golden Age Nursing Home of multiple deficiencies, including allegations of criminal conduct by nursing home staffers. The number and nature of the deficiencies, in large part because of the effect they have on the safety of the nursing home’s residents, put its participation in Medicare and Medicaid in jeopardy.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that CMS notified the nursing home in late August 2012 of twenty-four deficiencies occurring over the past fifteen months. It stated that it will continue to make payments for the nursing home’s residents until September 29 but will not pay for residents admitted after August 30. This gives the facility thirty days to remedy the deficiencies.
CMS reported that it had conducted three surveys of the facility in response to complaints in the past fifteen months. It compared the total number of deficiencies in the facility, twenty-four, to the national average of 7.5. The average number of deficiencies for facilities in Mississippi is six. The most recent survey of the nursing home, conducted on February 10, 2012, identified deficiencies in eight broad categories based on the regulatory requirements for participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs:
1. Privacy and confidentiality of residents’ personal and medical information and records;
2. Provision of care that maintains “dignity and respect of individuality”;
3. Adequate housekeeping and maintenance;
4. Safety and cleanliness in food handling;
5. Labeling of drugs and maintenance of drug records in accordance with professional standards;
6. Effective planning to control the spread of infections;
7. Monitoring of nurse aides to ensure they can provide for resident needs; and
8. Recordkeeping on individual residents that meets accepted professional standards.
Federal regulations set out a list of criteria that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities must meet in order to qualify for the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The criteria, known as Conditions for Coverage (CfCs) and Conditions of Participations (CoPs), largely relate to the quality of care provided to residents, protection of resident safety, residents’ quality of life, and protection of resident privacy and confidentiality. Evidence of nursing home abuse or neglect is the quickest route to loss of CMS funding.
The most serious deficiencies identified by CMS in its inspection of the Greenwood facility involved the alleged theft of pain pills by two nurses. The inspection also noted multiple instances of poor maintenance and cleanliness, including cracked or splintered walls, ceilings, and doors; instances of poor bathroom and food-storage sanitation; and allegedly inadequate nursing care.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide diligent care and a safe environment for their residents, and people injured when they breach this duty may be entitled to damages. The Maryland lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen help obtain compensation for people injured due to abuse or neglect by nursing home staff. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949.
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Nursing Home Closes After Years of Ongoing Problems, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2012