Archive for Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Former employee sues nursing home co-owner

March 22, 2005


The co-owner of a Lawrence nursing home is being sued by a former employee who claims she was fired for reporting staffing violations to the state.

Mary Spencer, a licensed practical nurse, is seeking more than $75,000 in compensatory damages from LakeView Manor, co-owner Charles K. Pomeroy and Ruth Moore, an administrative assistant.

In her lawsuit, Spencer claims that shortly after reporting "illegal operational and staffing activity" at the nursing home at 3015 W. 31st St., she was dropped from the facility's list of workers without explanation.

Spencer argues that under the Kansas Nurse Practice Act, she was required to report the home's shortcomings.

She also alleges Pomeroy refused to give a reason for her termination and that Moore later told would-be employers that if asked, LakeView would not rehire Spencer.

Attempts to reach Pomeroy and Moore for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

Spencer's attorney, Dennis Hawver, said his client "believes she's been wronged, and we're trying to collect money to right that wrong."

Hawver said he filed the lawsuit earlier this month after attempts to reach an out-of-court settlement failed.

Under Kansas law, licensed nurses are required to report repeated instances of substandard care. Those who don't could be disciplined.

"Licensees are mandatory reporters," said Terri Roberts, executive director at the Kansas State Nurses Assn. "Any time conditions in an institution fall into a pattern that falls below the accepted minimum standard of care, they have an obligation to report it."

Spencer's 2004 tenure at LakeView coincided with several failed state inspections at the troubled home

Kansas Department on Aging officials last month announced that LakeView would be subject to two major inspections a year instead of one. The increased scrutiny, they said, was in response to the home's repeatedly falling in and out of compliance.

Of the state's 375 nursing homes, only two warranted a similar sanction: Atchison Senior Village in Atchison and Cedar Vale Nursing Center in Cedar Vale.

Records show that in the past year, LakeView has had four administrators and at least that many directors of nursing.

Pomeroy is not a licensed administrator. He owns the 52-bed facility with his parents, Charles P. and Lurene Pomeroy, of Topeka.

Last month, the home had fewer than 35 residents.

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