By Tim Carpenter, March 06, 2017
LAWRENCE — A 91-year-old Alzheimer’s patient at Good Samaritan Society nursing home made clear he didn’t want to go to a doctor appointment.
Managers of the Minneapolis long-term care facility called law enforcement to deal with the reluctant resident, and police and sheriff’s department officers confronted the elderly man as he sat in a large chair.
“All you have to do is stand up and walk,” one officers said. “We’re not wanting anybody to get hurt.”
Video documenting the encounter showed an officer shoot the man in the back with a stun gun. He fell to the floor and emitted anguished howls. As he writhed in pain, an officer shouted, “Get him cuffed.” Published reports said the man’s wrist was broken while being taken into protective custody. He died two months later.
Kansas Advocates for Better Care, a nonprofit organization based in Lawrence, listed Good Samaritan Society as the state’s No. 1 health and safety risk with 46 infractions documented by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services in the latest inspection cycle.
None of the other 67 nursing facilities in Kansas with at least 10 violations in the most recent round of comprehensive inspections had more than 32 infractions. Six of the state’s “red-flag” nursing homes, or homes that have been cited with at least 10 infractions for three consecutive inspections, are in Topeka. Three-fourths of the long-term care facilities under scrutiny by KABC are owned by for-profit corporations, including 10 of the 13 with at least 21 infractions.
“It’s particularly disturbing from a quality standpoint,” said Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of KABC. “It’s a concern to me that 46 of these facilities were in last year’s poor-performing list. That’s an issue in terms of the oversight process.”
KABC reported seven nursing homes in Kansas had five or fewer deficiencies in the three previous inspections, which would ideally be performed on an annual basis. Four Kansas facilities — Caritas Center, Wichita; Russell Regional Hospital; Bethel Home, Montezuma; and Sterling Presbyterian Manor, Sterling; had zero infractions.
McFatrich said it wasn’t unusual for a nursing home to be cited for 10 deficiencies in an inspection cycle.
Codi Thurness, commissioner for survey, certification and credentialing at the state Department for Aging and Disability Services, said she was prohibited from discussing the stun gun incident.
She said KDADS uncovered 132 incidents of “immediate jeopardy” to health or safety of a nursing facility client during 2016. That’s an increase from the 54 citations in that category during 2015, she said.
“There is probably more awareness of individuals voicing concerns they’re having,” Thurness said. “More people are educated and reporting to the hot line.”
McFatrich said the federal government encouraged KDADS to conduct the comprehensive inspection of 350 nursing homes in Kansas on a 12-month cycle. She said the state was operating on a 15-month rotation.
“We don’t have timely inspections,” McFatrich said.
She said the assessments by KDADS were the only objective review of nursing homes conducted by a government oversight agency to assure safety and health of older residents. Each facility is required to develop a corrective action plan for issues cited by KDADS. Nursing facilities shouldn’t be allowed to operate while failing to correct deficiencies related to actual harm or mistreatment of residents, she said.
In response, Thurness said the federal regulations required completion of comprehensive inspection of Kansas nursing homes in less than 16 months. In the 2016 fiscal year, which ended last June, the state performed these inspections at a 15-month pace.
She said KDADS placed greater emphasis on responding to health or safety complaints placing individuals in immediate jeopardy rather than the more detailed, comprehensive assessments.
The consumer organization’s list of violators with 25 or more infractions: Good Samaritan Society, Minneapolis, 46; Trego Manor, WaKeeney, 32; Woodlawn Rehabilitation and Health Care, Wichita, 30; The Legacy on 10th Avenue, Topeka; 28: Leisure Terrace, Overland Park, 28; and Morton County Senior Living, Elkhart, 26.
Facilities with more than 20 violations: Shawnee Gardens Healthcare, Shawnee, 23; Fort Scott Manor, Fort Scott, 23; Legacy at College Hill, Wichita, 22; Ottawa Retirement Village, Ottawa, 21; Tanglewood Nursing and Rehabilitation, Topeka, 21; Good Samaritan Society, Goodland, 21; Topeka Presbyterian Manor, Topeka, 21.