2010-12-24 / Top Stories

Feds Fine Lawrence Nursing Care Center

Cited For Substandard Care
By Howard Schwach

The Lawrence Nursing Care Center in Arverne has been fined by the federal government.  The Lawrence Nursing Care Center in Arverne has been fined by the federal government. The federal government has fined a Rockaway nursing care center more than $19,000 for “substandard care” after an April visit and audit of the facility, officials say.

The local facility joined three other New York City nursing care centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx that were similarly cited for not following federal rules and procedures.

Officials identified the local facility as the Lawrence Nursing Care Center at 350 Beach 54 Street in Arverne.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services slapped Lawrence Nursing Care Center with the second-highest fine, $19,532 for several problem areas, including failure to investigate accidents or injuries to patients at the center.

According to Cynthia Rudder of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a non-profit organization that monitors nursing homes, the state Department of Health is responsible for conducting inspections of nursing homes under it’s contract with the federal government to oversee nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. The state can levy state fines or recommend federal fines (which tend to be higher) when violations of minimum standards are found. In this case, the state passed the ball to the feds, who levied the fines.

According to the federal agency, one elderly man had to be hospitalized and undergo surgery for a head injury of “unknown origins.”

Another resident, this one with Alzheimer’s, had an abrasion to his forehead, a swollen wrist and scratches to his nose. An aide had noted the injuries on his chart, but the feds say that nobody ever followed up on the injuries and they were allowed to fester.

In another incident involving an Alzheimer’s patient, the patient lost 31 pounds from January to April of last year, going to 127 pounds from 158 pounds. The patient was allowed to lose the weight despite records that showed that he had a poor appetite and difficulty swallowing.

The man was eventually hospitalized and was fed through a tube. The man’s doctor told federal inspectors that he had not been made aware of the problem until May.

The center’s administrator, Michael Kraus, however, told Daily News reporter Heidi Evans, “Most residents are extremely happy with the care they get here, as are their families. The findings bear little relationship to the actual facility. It’s all about paperwork.”

The Lawrence Nursing Care Center has 200 beds and presently houses 189 residents.

It was cited by the feds in July of this year for failing to insure each resident’s nutritional needs and for its food preparation.

In addition, the feds admonished the center to hire only those who have no history of abusing, mistreating or neglecting residents and to report all acts of abuse, neglect or mistreatment.

According to the state agency’s website, the Lawrence Nursing Care Center has logged far more standard health deficiencies, including deficiencies related to actual harm or immediate jeopardy than the state average over the past three years.

The center now has to submit a plan for remediating the problems for which it was fined or face closure.

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