Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2004

State cites care home for new violations

August 17, 2004

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Lake View Manor is in trouble again.

State inspectors last month cited the Lawrence nursing home for providing poor care after learning several residents had gone days without being bathed.

One bedfast resident, according to Kansas Department on Aging reports, had been bathed twice in 18 days. Another resident had been bathed three times in four weeks.

The home at 3015 W. 31st St. has failed several inspections in recent years, resulting in multiple fines and temporary bans on new admissions.

In the latest inspection, the nursing home also was cited for:

  • Failure to provide meaningful activities for residents.
  • Too many errors while distributing resident medications. Regulations allow an error rate of 5 percent; the nursing home erred on 15 percent of distributions.
  • Not having enough workers.
  • Not having a licensed administrator on staff.

Lake View Manor's owners -- Charles P. and Lureen Pomeroy and their son, Charles K. Pomeroy, all of Topeka -- fired administrator Dick Boswell on June 14. Boswell had twice saved the home from being closed by regulators.

Then, nine days later, the Pomeroys fired Boswell's replacement, Susan Roberts.

"The place is a mess," Roberts said Monday. "When I walked in there I was optimistic. I really thought I could make a difference. But the owners aren't willing to make the changes that need to be made to be successful."

Roberts said she was terminated shortly after submitting a plan for making the home profitable and improving its image. Her recommendations, she said, included having Charles K. Pomeroy vacate his apartment at the facility.

"The barrier to success," she said, "lies with the Pomeroys."

Charles K. Pomeroy denied that.

"All the problems have been cured," he said.

Pomeroy said the facility was in the process of hiring a new administrator. "We're in good shape on that," he said.

But it is regulators who ultimately will decide whether the problems have been fixed.

In March, federal officials threatened to pull the home's access to Medicare and Medicaid payments after it fell short of correcting each of the 28 deficiencies cited during a January inspection. The threat was lifted after the home managed to pass a third inspection.

In Kansas, a nursing home is not guaranteed the opportunity of a third inspection. Instead, third inspections must be approved by the regional Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services office in Kansas City, Mo.

It's not known when inspectors will return for a second inspection of the facility, following up on the problems found in last month's inspection.

"That's not something that's announced ahead of time," said Karen Sipes, spokeswoman for the Department on Aging.

Whether Lake View Manor can pass a second inspection remains to be seen. If it doesn't and if a third inspection isn't approved, the home would lose its Medicare and Medicaid certification on or before Dec. 14.

Without Medicaid, Lake View Manor would be forced out of business.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Brookhart declined comment on the home's chances for a third inspection.

"We would not want to speculate on that," she said.

Margaret Farley, a Lawrence attorney and an outspoken advocate for nursing home residents, urged state officials to either close or take over Lake View Manor.

"What are we waiting on? Someone to suffer a serious injury?" she asked. "For them to be cited for not having enough staff is a very serious deficiency -- the staffing level that's required is minimal.

"At some point, you have to wonder about the residents' safety and whether they're in jeopardy," Farley said.

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