Last month, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging released a report on nursing homes with unacceptable conditions. There are more than 400 under-performing nursing homes throughout the country. Eleven of the under-performing nursing homes are in Tennessee where the violations are shocking.
The Special Focus Facility Program
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) runs a program called the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program for nursing homes that fail to earn even one star in their ranking system. There is only room for 88 facilities in the program, though hundreds more are eligible. The list of 88 facilities nationwide that receive extra attention and inspections from CMS has always been public. However, in the wake of the recent Senate report, the names of all the facilities that are eligible for the program are now public as well.
The 400 facilities that are eligible represent only 2.5 percent of the 15,700 total nursing homes in America. But if they are not in the SFF program, they are not subject to extra inspections and guidance. Basically, now that the information about which facilities are failing to meet federal standards is public, there is nothing CMS can do about it. Their funding and resources limit the spots in the SFF program to 88 facilities. The only way to get a new facility in the program is to roll another one out of it.
11 Nursing Homes in Tennessee Raising Statewide Concerns
Anytime there are multiple under-performing nursing homes in the same state, there is cause for concern. For Tennessee residents, concerns are certainly running high with 11 nursing homes eligible for the SFF program. These nursing homes are identified as:
- Asbury Place in Maryville
- Bailey Park Community Living Center in Humboldt
- Brookhaven Manor in Kingsport
- Cornerstone Village in Johnson City
- Creekside Center for Rehabilitation and Health in Madison
- Dyersburg Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Greenhills Health and Rehabilitation Center in Nashville
- Life Care Center of Columbia
- Lauderdale Community Living Center in Ripley
- Rainbow Rehab and Health in Bartlett
- Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville
Two of the nursing homes are not only eligible, but are actually in the program: Brookhaven Manor and Lauderdale Community Living Center.
Tracking Down Inspection Reports for Underperforming Nursing Homes
Since such a small number of eligible nursing homes actually make it into the SFF program, it is tempting to assume “eligibility” refers to something benign. Surely, there would not be evidence of any egregious nursing home abuse in the facilities that didn’t make the cut, right?
Sadly, no. Now that the names of eligible nursing homes are public, Knox News took the time to dig through hundreds of pages of recent CMS reports on the underperforming facilities outside the program. What they found is certainly infuriating.
The short answer is abuse and neglect. The more detailed and disturbing answers can be found in the publicly available inspection reports published by CMS.
Criminal Behavior, Rampant Infections, and More at Brookhaven Manor
Brookhaven Manor is one of the facilities in Tennessee that is currently part of the SFF program. Its offenses are stomach-churning:
- Staff members discharged a patient for smoking in the facility. They unceremoniously dropped him off at a hotel, where they had paid for a 3-day stay. They left the patient, a head trauma victim, in the hotel with no money, medication, phone, or long-term plan. The facility is under criminal investigation for the incident.
- Brookhaven has also been cited for failing to contain a contagious bacterial infection.
- Staff members allowed bedsores to develop on patients.
- They have left incontinent patients too long without cleaning them up.
- Medical neglect by failure to make a urology appointment for a resident who needed to see a doctor.
- Understaffing in the facility.
CMS has also critiqued their administrative oversight. Fortunately, Brookhaven is an example of how effective the SFF program can be at resolving environments in which nursing home residents experience abuse or neglect. With more CMS involvement, the facility is now called Orchard View, is under new management, and has received much better rankings during inspections. They expect to graduate from the program after their next inspection because of these improvements.
Insulin Overdose at Bailey Park
In this Humboldt facility, staff members seem to be a tremendous problem. Consider the following devastating examples:
- A nurse gave a diabetic patient 100 units of insulin instead of his prescribed dose of four. The 25-fold overdose put the resident in a coma.
- Administration suspended a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for slapping and kicking a resident. They further failed to report the suspension to the state in a timely manner.
- The facility failed to isolate residents who had urinary tract infections so advanced the infection produced enzymes that made the infection contagious and antibiotic-resistant.
Broken Bones at Multiple Facilities
Formerly known as Brakebill Nursing Home, Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville delayed taking a patient to a hospital when needed. She was screaming in pain after breaking both kneecaps when she fell out of bed as a CNA changed her sheets.
At Asbury Place in Maryville, seven residents suffered multiple falls. One resident fell nine times in one year, breaking a bone. Another resident fell nine times in four months. Yet another resident fell four times in two months. At no point did the facility take steps to prevent the conditions that caused the residents to fall.
Medication Error Rates Up to 65 Percent
At Creekside Center for Rehabilitation and Health in Madison, the facility reported a medication error rate of 65 percent. The federal threshold for medication errors is five percent. According to reports, the facility failed to:
- Complete blood glucose tests for nine residents.
- Give seven residents insulin as prescribed.
- Correctly dispense blood pressure medication to three residents.
- Correctly dispense anti-anxiety medication for three residents.
- Follow guidelines to care for one resident’s wound.
Lauderdale Community Living Center, which is actually part of the SFF Program was cited by CMS for a medication error rate of seven percent. The facility’s violations included:
- Failure to dose insulin as directed.
- Poor hand hygiene
- Poor infection control, specifically failing to rinse syringes and glucometers for diabetic patients
Neglecting Basic Needs
At Greenhills Health and Rehabilitation Center in Nashville, a variety of violations make them eligible for the program. Most of the violations are the result of neglect of basic needs. Examples include:
- CMS caught them leaving dried food on dining tables.
- The residents routinely run out of clean towels and washcloths.
- Two residents were attacked by two other residents who have violent tendencies.
- CMS cited them for unsanitary living conditions and failing to prevent resident falls.
- The facility also admitted a resident who didn’t speak English without getting an interpreter. Essentially, the caregivers had no way of communicating with this resident or evaluating his condition.
Questions about Abuse or Neglect in Nursing Homes?
These examples at Tennessee facilities certainly seem like the worst of the worst. They are everyone’s worst nightmare when it comes time to place a family member in a nursing home. Tragically, these are all true, recent examples of seniors suffering in Tennessee. What’s more, violations like these happen in nursing homes all over the U.S.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s care in a nursing home, call Nursing Home Abuse Center. We help families across the U.S. understand and protect their legal rights. Whether you are in Tennessee, California, Texas, or Oklahoma, contact us to speak with an attorney. Your initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. Call 1-800-516-4783 or contact us online.