Fines and enforcement records
In Washington, the state Department of Social and Health Services can levy fines or issue “letters of enforcement” to facilities that fail to meet state regulations and/or fix deficiencies in a timely manner. These fines and enforcement letters were issued from 2004 through the fall of 2006. Information includes the amount and type of fine and the date the letter of enforcement was sent.
In Idaho, the state Department of Health and Welfare doesn’t fine centers that repeatedly violate state regulations. Instead, state inspectors require facilities to hire consultants, who help revise systems to eliminate problems; the state also can ban admissions to facilities. Letters issued by the state, and posted at spokesmanreview.com/records/assistedliving, show facilities that were required to hire help. The phrase “core issues” in the Idaho documents represents the most serious deficiencies – those covering medication and care. Idaho recently revamped its inspection system; facilities that perform well on inspections and have no complaints may not receive inspections for three years, while problem facilities could be inspected three or more times a year.
Stop-placement order in effect from Sept. 22 through Oct. 6, 2006.
Denial of payment for new Medicare and Medicaid admissions: July 6 through Aug. 27, 2006.
Fined $3,000 for care issues: Aug. 31, 2006.
Fined $100 for failing to monitor multiple residents’ well-being: Feb. 7, 2006.
Fined $100 for failing to investigate accidents and injuries: Feb. 7, 2006.
Cooper George Retirement and Assisted Living:
Fined $300 for medication issues involving three residents: Nov. 20, 2006.
Fined $500 for failing to follow care plans for five residents: May 6, 2005.
Fined $100 for failing to monitor a resident’s well-being: May 6, 2005.
Fined $300 for non-availability of medications for three residents: May 6, 2005.
Fined $200 for failing to ensure that two residents received medications as prescribed: May 6, 2005.
Franklin Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center:
Stop-placement order in effect from Feb. 3-8, 2006.
Denial of payment for new Medicare and Medicaid admissions: June 22 through July 16, 2006.
Fined $2,500 for care issues: July 10, 2006.
Fined $2,000 for care issues: Dec. 6, 2006.
The Gardens on University
Fined $3,000 for failing to give written advance notice of discharge: March 7, 2005.
Moran Vista Assisted Living
Fined $100 for failing to ensure that residents received medication as prescribed: July 31, 2006.
Fined $100 for failing to monitor the well-being of three residents: June 22, 2005.
Fined $600 for failing to monitor the well-being of six residents: July 12, 2005.
Fined $500 for failing to protect five residents in the dementia care unit from physical altercations and combative behavior of other residents: July 12, 2005.
Northpointe Retirement Community
Fined $100 for failing to administer medication as prescribed for three residents: June 29, 2005.
Fined $600 for failing to protect six residents from financial exploitation, such as charging fees above the basic rates for items and services not provided as planned, fees that did not meet the criteria established by the facility or were not substantiated: Nov. 23, 2004.
Fined $100 for failing to ensure a resident received medication as prescribed: Nov., 23, 2004.
Fined $100 for failing to monitor resident’s well-being: Nov. 23, 2004.
Parkway Village Assisted Living
(Note: Parkway Village has changed ownership since these records were collected.)
Fined $1,300 for failing to consistently implement systems that supported safe medication services and for failing to ensure that three residents received medications as prescribed: Oct. 11, 2005.
Fined $900 for failing to monitor the well-being of multiple residents: Oct. 11, 2005.
Fined $200 for non-availability of medication for two residents: July 7, 2005.
Fined $200 for failing to monitor the well-being of two residents: Dec. 10, 2004.
Park Place Retirement Community
Fined $100 for failing to ensure that two residents received medication as prescribed: March 7, 2005.
Regency at Northpointe
Fined $3,000 for care issues: March 29, 2005.
Rowan Place Assisted Living:
(Note: Rowan Place Assisted Living has changed ownership since these records were collected.)
Fined $3,900 for failing to assess, monitor and take action related to dangerous behaviors of one resident: Dec. 7, 2004.
Fined $100 for failing to investigate a report of a sexual assault for one resident, or institute protective measures for other potential victims: Dec. 7, 2004.
Fined $300 for failing to monitor the well-being of three residents: Oct. 6, 2004.
Fined $100 for failing to store flammable substances out of reach of residents: Oct. 6, 2004.
Royal Park Care Center
Fined $3,000 for having inadequate care assessments: May 4, 2005.
Fined $2,500 for care issues: May 4, 2005.
Sullivan Park Assisted Living Community:
Fined $100 for admitting or retaining two residents who were unable to be safely cared for by available staff: Aug. 12, 2005.
Fined $2,000 (appeal reduced fine to $1,350) for care issues on Aug. 24, 2006.
Life Care Center of Coeur d’Alene
Denial of payment for new Medicare and Medicaid admissions: May 12, through June 15, 2004.
Denial of payment for new Medicare and Medicaid admissions: July 29 through Aug. 14, 2005.
Pinewood Care Center
Denial of payment for new Medicare and Medicaid admissions: Aug. 31, 2006 and was still in effect when records request ended.
Bucking a trend
Some nursing homes performed surprisingly well in light of a recent study that showed a correlation between the number of low-income residents served and declining levels of care. “In Search of Quality Care: Low-Income Seniors Left Behind” found that Washington nursing homes that care primarily for the poor provide a lower quality of life.
In Spokane County none of the five facilities with the highest percentage of Medicaid residents had been fined or received denial of payment or stop-placement orders during the two-year period in which records were collected.
Facilities that met a majority of residents’ needs while serving the highest percentage of seniors on public assistance include Spokane Valley Good Samaritan Village; Fairfield Good Samaritan Center; Spokane Veterans Home; North Central Care Center; and Avalon Care Center at Northpointe.
How to choose an adult family home or assisted living facility
“Start looking for information. Call assistance lines, obtain directories and visit Web sites.
“Narrow down choices and set up visits. Try visiting during evening or weekend hours, when staffing is traditionally lower.
“Ask representatives of facilities to provide a copy of the latest inspection report.
“Ask for a copy of the disclosure statement, which provides a list of services and charges.
“Ask questions about rates and what’s included. Ask about the policy for accepting Medicaid if the resident runs out of money in the future. Get any guarantees in writing.
“Ask questions about staffing, services and activities.
“Inspect the physical setting. Is it clean and easy to get around? Has equipment been installed to make using the bathroom easier?
“How’s the food? Are there choices, and are meal times flexible?
“Do the current residents look happy and comfortable? Do they interact and speak favorably of the facility?
Tips provided by Washington Aging and Disability Services Administration, Washington Department of Social and Health Services’ Residential Care Services and Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs long-term care ombudsman.
A checklist of questions and suggestions is available at spokesmanreview.com.