SNF fined $100,000, barred from running training programs after resident's suicide

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A Massachusetts skilled nursing facility was ordered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to pay more than $100,000 in fines after a resident committed suicide in August.

A report issued by state surveyors last month showed that staff at Grosvenor Park Health Center in Salem, MA, did not properly carry out the facility's suicide prevention policy after a family member told staff the resident had made a comment about committing suicide.

When staff asked the resident about the comments, he said his words were misunderstood and that he was not planning on committing suicide, Salem News reported. Staff felt “comfortable with [his] safety,” after speaking with him, according to the state report. The 81-year-old resident shot and killed himself inside the facility on Aug. 26 with a gun that he legally owned.

“The Grosvenor staff remains saddened by the loss of the patient and committed to thoughtfully addressing mental health issues in its patients,” a spokeswoman for Grosvenor's parent Company, Synergy Health Centers, said in a statement to McKnight's. “Screening for mental health, depression and suicide risk is a clear, industry-wide issue for skilled nursing facilities, particularly with a significant portion of patients today admitted for short stays.”

In a letter sent Wednesday, CMS imposed a $102,623 civil monetary penalty against Grosvenor Park for not following suicide prevention policies, as well as not informing the resident's family about updates to his care plan. CMS also banned the facility from running its own Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation programs through August 2018.

The deficiencies noted in the September report had been fixed by a follow-up visit to Grosvenor Park that took place on Oct. 13, CMS said.

“Since the August suicide of a recently admitted patient, the Grosvenor Park Health Center team has carefully reviewed the incident to determine lessons learned,” the provider's statement reads. “In conjunction with feedback from the DPH, we have focused on updating our processes to include more specific questions regarding mental health status and depression, better communications protocols and improved staff education.”