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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lakeland Village gets reprieve

Feds drop threat to cut funds after improvements made

Federal officials have backed away from a threat to cut funding from Lakeland Village as a result of improvements responding to numerous violations.

The Washington state Department of Social and Health Services on Thursday said that the federal government will maintain Medicaid funding for 83 residents under long-term care at Lakeland Village Nursing Facility in Medical Lake.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had threatened to terminate its funding for patients after thousands of patient-care violations were logged since 2013.

Problems at the nursing facility stemmed from budget cuts in 2011 and involved a move of 27 residents from intermediate care to less-intensive nursing care.

Advocates for the residents said the move to nursing care resulted in a loss of professional treatment services and caused the affected residents to lose some of their functioning ability.

In 2013, federal inspectors issued 40,000 citations to the facility at the same time the state was rebuilding lost staff.

In January, inspectors cited 21 violations, enough for the federal agency to announce a revocation of funding to take effect on Thursday.

A more recent survey of the facility showed that the state is continuing to make improvements. That has resulted in a reversal of the threat to cut federal funding, according to a news release by DSHS on Thursday.

John Lemus, a past president of People First of Washington, said the facility passed its most recent inspection.

His organization has been calling for closure of the nursing facility because of ongoing problems with resident care.

“We believe the people out there deserve better treatment than they are receiving,” Lemus said.

Lemus said he is skeptical that all of the problems have been solved. People First describes itself as a self-advocacy organization for persons with disabilities.

The Lakeland Village campus on Salnave Road provides care to 210 residents with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We have more work to do, but our progress has been steady and strong,” DSHS officials said in the news release. “Our goal is to ensure that the Lakeland Village nursing facility is recognized for providing the highest quality of services and care for the residents.”

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