An Illinois skilled nursing facility is facing more than $100,000 in state and federal penalties after five of its residents overdosed on heroin in February, according to local reports.
The five residents of Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation in Chicago were hospitalized and recovered following the overdoses, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday. Two residents then allegedly used heroin within hours of returning to the facility, with one overdosing again.
A sixth overdose that reportedly occurred at the facility in September 2015 is also under investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services imposed a $76,000 civil monetary penalty on Continental for the February overdose incidents. Continental, which cares for a mix of older adults and younger residents with mental illness, said in a plan of corrections accepted by CMS in April that it has “ceased admitting any residents with active substance abuse.”
Continental is also fighting a $25,000 fine from the Department of Public Health that claims facility officials failed to monitor and treat residents with drug addictions. Police were also reportedly called to the facility in October 2015 after residents told staff about incidents of drug abuse. Workers searched the facility and found items used to cook and inject drugs, which were turned over to the police.
The facility has also had 60 police reports of alleged batteries filed between 2011 and 2015, and is currently the focus of a lawsuit filed by the family of a resident who broke his hips after falling from a 4th-floor window he was trying to rappel out of using bed sheets, according to the Tribune report.
“If you look at our company historically, we generally give good care,” Continental co-owner Moishe Gubin told the Tribune. Gubin said he was not aware of the heroin overdoses or any other issues at the facility.
If the reported overdose incidents did occur, “it goes against what our mission has been,” Gubin said.
The facility’s administrator, Jonathan Dixon, echoed Gubin’s sentiments in an email to the newspaper, saying, “We consistently strive to provide the highest quality of care, in a safe environment.”