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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Nursing home tragedy unfolded days after Irma’s initial hit

Three days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills still didn’t have air conditioning, and it ultimately became the grimmest tragedy in a state already full of them. Eight people died and 145 patients had to be moved out of the stifling-hot facility, many of them on stretchers or in wheelchairs.

Abuse in nursing homes unreported despite law

More than 1 in 4 cases of possible sexual and physical abuse against nursing home patients apparently went unreported to police, according to a government audit that faults Medicare for failing to enforce a federal law requiring immediate notification.

Health facility inspectors overworked, Idaho budget committee told

BOISE – The Idaho agency responsible for investigating complaints against hospitals and nursing homes has a backlog of 135 cases. “We’re barely avoiding financial penalties for our ability to meet all federal performance standards,” Tamara Prisock, administrator of the Division of Licensing and Certification for the state Department of Health and Welfare, told legislative budget writers Tuesday. The agency is plagued by heavy turnover due to stress and an unmanageable workload, she said.

Buyers beware of long-term care insurance

Vera Gunnarson sat in her Seattle-area home recently, pouring through a neat file of long-term-care insurance papers. The oldest was signed in 1994, when Gunnarson was 61. “I probably should have done more research,” the Seattle woman said. “I wonder if we really understood what we were doing.”

Inspector highlights psych drug use among elderly

Government inspectors told lawmakers Wednesday that Medicare officials need to do more to stop doctors from prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs to nursing home patients with dementia, an unapproved practice that has flourished despite repeated government warnings. So-called antipsychotic drugs are designed to help control hallucinations, delusions and other abnormal behavior in people suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they’re also given to hundreds of thousands of elderly nursing home patients in the U.S. to pacify aggressive behavior related to dementia.

Fairfield nursing home may reopen in months

A newly organized nonprofit group is trying to reopen a Fairfield nursing home closed in June by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. Fairfield Care President Carl Felgenhauer said Good Samaritan, after failing to sell the facility, agreed to give his group a quitclaim deed to the property he said is important to the town’s economy.

The high cost of living

Jim Sinnott survived Pearl Harbor, joined his nation in picking up the pieces of that shattered day and helped his generation forge a more secure world for the next. Japanese dive bombers couldn’t stop the Navy radioman in 1941, but Parkinson’s disease is catching up with him nearly 69 years later.

Cooper George gets state order

For the second time this year, the state has ordered a Spokane retirement and assisted-living facility to stop placing new residents until it corrects several violations, including failure to report the alleged abuse of a patient. When a resident of Cooper George Senior Living, 707 W. Fifth Ave., told a caregiver that she had been fondled by another employee of the facility, the caregiver failed to report it, according to a report by Washington’s Aging and Disability Services Administration.

State: Assisted-living facility cannot place new residents

For the second time this year, the state has ordered a Spokane retirement and assisted-living facility to stop placing new residents until it corrects several violations, including failure to report the alleged abuse of a patient.

Lawsuit against Extendicare transferred to federal court

A lawsuit filed this summer in King County against Extendicare Homes Inc. has been moved to federal court with new allegations of illegal activity by the company. Extendicare operates 16 nursing homes in Washington, including one in Spokane that has the county’s worst record of care.

St. Joseph Care Center adds 20 beds for rehab

Work started last month on a 20-bed expansion of the nonprofit St. Joseph Care Center, a nursing home on the Sacred Heart Medical Center campus. The Providence Transitional Care Unit will offer private rooms and a gym designed for patients who need cardiac or orthopedic rehabilitation.