Nursing homes in Kentucky face stiff fines for care violations

The state of nursing home facilities has been dire according to reports from health and family services associations. Random and unplanned inspection visits have resulted in the observance of severe deficiencies and the imposition of heavy fines in attempts to improve quality of care.

One facility in Louisville visited by the state found five violations that placed many residents of the home in danger. These included giving residents wrong dosages of medications and no effort to correct this situation.

Following these discoveries, the centers for Medicare and Medicaid imposed a fine of over $400,000, the highest penalty for any federally-funded nursing care facility ever.

There were seven other long-term care facilities that had inspections resulting in fines of over $100,000. Some reports indicate these health deficiencies were much higher than in the previous year. But others reviewing the 46 care facilities in Jefferson County claim the deficiencies were less drastic than over the last two years.

While health care investigations reveal some discrepancies in data, one spokesperson for reform views the federal data can be used in the instigation of change. Long-term care facilities may be re-certified if deficiencies are corrected in a timely manner. One expert points out the average number of issues is lower than the national average of almost 7 percent.

In spite of some optimism, only one facility in Jefferson County had no reported deficiencies in staffing or treatment.

The facility in Louisville responded to its negative ratings by putting forth a plan of correction that was later approved by the state and federal inspectors. Facility violations involve fires due to faulty sprinkler systems, disoriented residents wandering around unsupervised, malfunctions of electronic monitoring systems and staffing issues.

We entrust our parents and elderly family members to assisted living facilities that promise to provide personal and compassionate attention. If a family or friend of a loved one suspects someone is a victim of nursing home neglect, there is help and advice available that understand the laws and regulations in place to protect the dignity and well-being of some of our most loved members of society.

Source: WDRB 41 Louisville News, "SUNDAY EDITION: Violations costly for Louisville nursing homes" Marcus Green, Feb. 01, 2014

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