Residents’ lives are at extreme risk, feds say, as they threaten to essentially shut down struggling NJ nursing home

Federal regulators are threatening to cut off the struggling Woodland Behavioral Health and Nursing Center in Andover from all Medicaid and Medicare funding in two weeks, following a damning report citing the nursing home for health care violations that threatened the life and safety of the more than 450 residents who live there.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, these violations placed residents at “immediate risk” for what was called substandard quality of care, based on multiple shortcomings that officials said were at the level most serious finding.

In a Feb. 9 letter to nursing home administrators, CMS officials said the facility did not meet federal requirements to continue participating in Medicare and Medicaid, giving them three weeks to correct the issues.

“Your provider agreement in the Medicare and Medicaid programs will terminate on March 3, 2022, unless substantial compliance is achieved by March 3, 2022,” the Northeast Enforcement Division wrote. ‘agency.

A termination of federal funding would effectively close the Sussex County facility, one of New Jersey’s largest nursing homes, which relies heavily on Medicaid as well as Medicare reimbursement to operate.

Woodland also faces monetary penalties, the CMS letter noted, including an $11,292 fine for violations related to its caregiver training program.

A CMS spokeswoman said their priority is to promote the health and safety of nursing home residents and that the agency is working with the New Jersey Department of Health regarding deficiencies identified in a Notice of Violation by the state that led to a declaration of immediate danger. Last week.

Menachem Spiegel, the administrator of Woodland, did not respond to requests for comment. But in a statement, the facility said, “Woodland Behavioral is in close communication with the New Jersey Department of Health and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure the facility is in substantial compliance with all applicable standards. Patient health and safety remains our top priority. »

Woodland owners include Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum of Lakewood and Louis Schwartz, the eldest son of Joseph Schwartz who was charged last month in a multimillion-dollar federal tax evasion scheme in connection with Skyline Healthcare, his healthcare chain. Multi-state nursing homes that failed. had already sought to purchase the long-term care facility.

Considered one of the worst nursing homes in New Jersey, Woodland has already been ordered by the state health department to curtail all new admissions following the violations. The state also appoints a monitor who will conduct a comprehensive review of the facility’s operations. She was also threatened by the state with outright closure by suspension or revocation of her license.

The state report, in its grim assessment, found that Woodland “failed to adequately prevent abuse and neglect” of its residents. Health Department investigators cited failures in attempting to resuscitate several residents in cardiac arrest, including a 55-year-old individual found without a pulse or breathing on New Year’s Day last month. No calls were made to 911, and no one performed CPR. The resident was eventually pronounced dead.

Sometimes the retirement home operated with only half the state-appointed staff. In a two-week period from late December through January, not a single day went by without enough certified nurse aides on duty to care for more than 450 residents, noted the regulators.

A certified nurse’s aide, or CNA, left a resident soiled with feces for ten hours overnight. The unnamed resident, who already had a pressure sore or pressure sore which would have been exacerbated by dampness and susceptible to infection, asked the staff coordinator for another carer, saying the help made the unnamed individual ‘furious’ and “frightened”. The staffing coordinator never reported the matter to administrators or the Department of Health, and aid was never suspended.

And a nursing home resident was ignored by a nurse and assistant for nearly an hour, state officials said, despite complaints of pain after a catheter got stuck in a chair. motorized roller.

Additionally, there was no evidence that the facility was monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for patients under investigation or positive for COVID-19 – including those who were subsequently hospitalized or died. Inspectors said the facility also failed to keep accurate records of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated staff for COVID-19 to ensure tests were performed.

Ambulance crews parked outside the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Andover in 2020, after police found more than a dozen bodies at the northwestern New Jersey nursing home.PA

Formerly known as Andover Subaigu and Rehabilitation Center, the facility became the center of nationwide attention at the height of the pandemic when police were called to the nursing home over Easter weekend in April 2020 and asked to bring body bags. They discovered the bodies of 17 residents, some being kept in a makeshift morgue.

The nursing home was hit a month later with $220,235 in fines and penalties, with regulators blaming administrators for failures in infection control practices and other lapses.

Although it changed its name to Woodland Behavioral and Nursing Center in Andover (and an adjacent sister facility was renamed Limecrest Subacute and Rehabilitation Center) following public outrage at the high death toll there- down, it remained under the same ownership.

Woodland continues to report the worst new COVID-19 outbreak of any nursing home in the state this week, amid the ongoing omicron wave, according to data compiled by the Department of Health. As of Thursday, 250 residents, more than half of the nursing home’s population, had contracted COVID during the current outbreak. The facility reported that 16 of them had died. There were also 145 staff who had tested positive for the virus.

Earlier this month, the New Jersey State Comptroller identified Woodland Behavioral Health and Nursing Center as one of the 15 worst nursing homes in the state, based on continuous “one star” ratings. from federal regulators that the bureau said had led to few, if any, serious consequences.

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Ted Sherman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL

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