Nursing home negligence

What we found

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -Nursing homes are supposed to be a place of care, rehabilitation, and cleanliness but some in the Miami valley are not living up to that standard.

And for those facilities..

"It's not a place you want to be"

Nursing homes are under strict rules and regulations from the state and federal government. They're inspected every 9-15 months, rated and sometimes even fined by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services or CMS

Bev Laubert is Ohio's Long Term care ombudsman. She's an expert on nursing homes. She says these surveys can tell you if nursing homes follow the rules.

"These are minimums, so if a nursing home isn't meeting the minimums it calls into question how high do they go. How high of quality do they provide?" said Long-term Care Ombudsman Bev Laubert.

CMS tries to answer that question for families. It even has a rating system in place.

We started our investigation there…by looking at all facilities marked below average. There are 18 of them in Montgomery and Greene Counties. We reached out to all of the nursing homes that had a one star rating. The lowest you can get.

"A one star home is a problem," said Laubert.

Only Astoria Health and Rehab Center in Germantown agreed to answer our questions on-camera.

Its 2013 survey had 13 deficiencies or violations on it. The biggest issue listed on one of their surveys: nobody noticed when a resident walked out of their building.

That's a serious mistake in the nursing home world.

Natalie: "When we first looked at it, you had one of the lowest ratings you could get. Why was that?"
Chris Jones, "Well, there's not just one answer. It's a very complicated answer but if I had to sum it up, it's just not paying attention to the important things."

Administrator Chris Jones started at Astoria the day the survey was taken. From that day forward he's been working to turn things around but he says it's not easy.

"The consequences of a poor survey over the long term. They just don't stop. It's things you don't expect and it has cost this facility. I don't think I'm exaggerating, I think we are in the millions of dollars in terms of loss revenue," said Jones.

Jones said they've put in a new security system, hired new staff and have a better approach to caring for their residents.

Natalie: "Can families trust this facility?"
Chris Jones: "Yes, absolutely. I would say that I would have my own loved ones here."

Since our investigation started Astoria improved its rating with CMS. It now has two stars after inspectors found no deficiencies on its last survey.

Laubert says if a facility is not following the rules, it not only gets a bad star rating, it could face a hefty fine from CMS. That usually happens if a resident was harmed or could have been.

The most serious incidents revolve around death or sexual abuse.

Natalie: "Does that happen very often?"
"It shouldn't happen at all but it does and you will need to look at was it a resident abusing another resident, was it a staff member abusing a resident?" said Laubert.

Abuse violations are rare, but after going through data, 2 NEWS Investigates found 2 in our area.

When we checked the state's online records we found, Friends Extended Care Center in Yellow Springs had a violation involving sexual abuse in 2011. Records say a nurse's aid was found on top of a resident while she was nude. The facility was fined.

The executive director there tells me that employee was prosecuted and is still in prison. He says they have since increased their security and the amount of education for employees. Friends Extended Care Center now has a five star rating.

Bethany Village in Centerville also had a report of sexual abuse in 2011. Records say the facility failed to protect a resident from abuse after that resident claimed a visitor touched them inappropriately. The facility banned the visitor and was fined.

A Bethany Village spokesperson tells me it was an isolated incident and they have since evaluated and updated their policies. You can read their complete statement below.

While serious, Laubert says abuse is not the most common violation happening in nursing homes.

"A very good nursing home could have something horrible happen; a resident could fall and die but it could otherwise be a good home and not have any other deficiencies but these continuous, lower level problems that just never get fixed that indicates to me a culture of kind of poor quality," said Laubert.

We found concerns of poor quality at Four Seasons of Dayton Nursing and Rehabilitation. It currently has a 2 star rating.

It's the only nursing home in our area that had a special notation on CMS's website saying the facility has a history of persistent poor quality of care. Their last survey, last September, had violations of medication errors, cleanliness problems, and patient care issues. They also had complaints of not getting a resident the care they needed after a head injury and not having all their staff background checked.

I called Four Seasons to ask about the problems. The administrator informed me they're started over under new leadership, and a new name: Embassy Garden Court. She says all the problems have been fixed.

Before you put your loved one in a nursing home, do your homework, visit the facility and ask questions.

"You just intuitively pick up stuff. It tells you, look at the residents. Look at how their hair is combed, look at whether they are shaved. Are they out of their rooms? Simple little things," said Jones.

Below is map of nursing homes in the Montgomery and Greene County with their overall rating. Below is a break-down of what is included:

  • Health Inspection
  • Overall Rating
  • Provider Name
  • Location
  • Date of last survey
  • # of Deficiencies on last survey (licensure)
  • Complaint surveys in past 2 years
  • Total # of deficiencies
  • Federal Fines 2012
  • Federal Fines 2013
  • Report

 

Legend of Overall Ratings:

  • Overall Rating 5: Much Above Average
  • Overall Rating 4: Above Average
  • Overall Rating 3: Average
  • Overall Rating 2: Below Average
  • Overall Rating 1: Much Below Average

Survey data was collected 3/27/2013 through 3/27/2015

 

star ratings were taken from medicare.gov as of 4/22/2015. To find out more about a facility go to, http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html or http://ltc.ohio.gov/FacilitySearch.aspx

Resources

Are you touring a nursing home soon? If so, take these questions with you:

Skilled Nursing Facility Checklist

 

Bethany Village's full statement:

"Bethany Village is proud of our current five star rating which directly reflects the hard work and processes we have in place.  We review and update our policies annually and make adjustments accordingly.

Bethany continues to provide the same consistent high quality care that we have provided for more than 65 years.  When consumers are searching for a nursing home, nothing replaces visiting the facility and talking to the people who live there. The star rating system is one measure of quality.  Consumers should also look at resident and family satisfaction scores, census and staffing levels which are important pieces of information as well.  Bethany Village is one of the largest nursing homes in the state with the fewest deficiencies, and better than average census and resident/family satisfaction scores.  Bethany Village is proud to have earned a 5-star nursing home rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This rating is the highest achievable score and is the result of hard work and dedication by an outstanding staff. The CMS rating system is viewed by families, hospitals, insurers and others who interact with long term care facilities."

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