TYLER (KYTX) - Several East Texas nursing homes racked up dozens of deficiencies, according a recently released report.
According to the Lufkin Daily News, ProPublica found nearly 118,000 deficiencies cited against 14,565 nursing homes nationwide since January 2011. The deficiencies were noted during surveys by federal Medicare officials.
ProPublica is a New York City-based independent non-profit newsroom.
Among area nursing home considered among the lowest performing in Texas was Tyler's Azalea Place Operating Company, at 810 S. Porter Street. The 119-bed, for-profit Azalea Place rated "much below average" in overall rating and health inspection rating, average in staffing rating, above average in quality measure rating, according to the report.
In a January 13 investigation, Medicare investigators found 10 deficiencies at Azalea Place. Since June 2011, Medicare investigators have found deficiencies at eight Tyler nursing centers, including Colonial Tyler Care Center LP, The Clairmont Tyler LP, Briarcliff Health Center, Reunion Plaza Senior Care Center, The Waterton Plaza Senior Care, Providence Park Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Tyler and Eastwood Care & Rehab LLC.
Azalea Place was asked to hire only people with no legal history of abusing, neglecting or mistreating residents, or report and investigate any acts or reports of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents. This was after investigators determined that the facility's respiratory therapy stations had ventilator alarms that, when sounded, could not be heard farther than 10 feet from a patient's room.
One resident's ventilator in January was disconnected from her medical equipment and the ventilator alarm could not be heard at the nursing or respiratory therapy stations, according to a medicare.gov report. The resident was found unresponsive with no pulse or respirations.
"She was transported to a local hospital where she later died," investigators wrote in their report.
Federal officials also found that Azalea Place administrators also failed to investigate and immediately report misappropriation of medications for three of 19 residents sampled for abuse, neglect and misappropriation. As many as 26 pain tablets were misappropriated during an investigation in January.
Azalea Place was also asked to develop policies that prevent mistreatment, neglect or abuse of residents or theft of resident property. In December, the facility was cited after a resident fell and suffered a bone fracture, but a physician-ordered orthopedic consult was never obtained, delaying treatment and medical evaluation for the patient.
Azalea Place also failed to store, cook and serve food in a safe and clean way, according to the report. Food thermometers were not calibrated, internal thermometers were missing in two of three freezers and the refrigerator, cookware was encrusted with a heavy black carbon-like substance and ceiling lights and air vents were not maintained and had accumulated dust and debris. Investigators said the failures placed residents who ate from the Azalea Place kitchen at risk of food-borne illness.
While Azalea Place's deficiencies were considered more severe, no other East Texas nursing facility racked more deficiencies than Trucare Living Centers, at 2265 S. Sycamore Street in Palestine. Federal investigators found 30 violations during a July 2011 survey.
Among Trucare's deficiencies were that it did not let each resident choose a personal doctor, keep each resident's personal and medical records private and confidential; or provide a pest control program dealing with mice and insects; or maintain drug records and properly mark and label drugs. Trucare also incurred several deficiencies dealing with food service and medical equipment use and reporting.
Henderson Health & Rehabilitation Center, at 1010 W. Main Street in Henderson, also made the low-performing list.
Among Henderson Health's 14 deficiencies this past December were that it failed to protect each resident from all abuse, physical punishment and being separated from others. Investigators found that one LVN placed a resident in her room and held the door shut from the hallway side while the resident attempted to exit her room, the report stated. A social worker who probed the incident failed to report the incident to the facility's abuse coordinator.
"This failure could place the census of 89 residents at risk of abuse," investigators said. They also found that Henderson Health employees failed to properly treat patients with feeding tubes, to provide dental services for each resident, or to use a registered nurse at least eight hours a day, seven days a week as required.
Crestcare Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, at 1301 Eden Drive in Longview, was cited 12 times during a Jan. 25 survey made public July 19.
Among the violations were that Crestcare failed to immediately tell a resident, their doctor and a family member of situations that affected the resident; failed to provide enough notice before discharging or transferring residents; failed to properly treat and prevent bed sores; failed to provide nutritional, appetizing, tasty, attractive and well-cooked food at the right temperature or store, cook and serve food in a safe and clean way; and failed to make sure doctors visited all residents regularly, as required.
You can search for deficiency reports of nursing homes nationwide by clicking here.