State News for August 2018

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In March, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a law requiring senior care facilities to have 96 hours of backup power supply.
In March, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a law requiring senior care facilities to have 96 hours of backup power supply.

Florida

Facilities still lacking backup power, emergency prep

A year after Hurricane Irma led to the deaths of 12 residents, senior living facilities are still under pressure to have better emergency preparedness plans during the 2018 hurricane season.

Only 346 of 1,444 facilities in South Florida were ready with backup power as of early July, despite a law pushed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) that was signed in March, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. Many facilities have asked for an extension, while others have pleaded poverty related to the requirements of installing backup generators or other infrastructure upgrades.

The area's senior facilities also received a blow this summer when Florida Power & Light Co. rejected requests from Broward and Miami-Dade counties to put them on the priority power restoration list.

SOUTHWEST

CNA turnover at 97%

TEXAS — Certified nurse aides have a 97% turnover rate, while registered and licensed vocational nurses have a 90% turnover rate in area nursing homes, according to the Texas Health Care Association.

Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the association, told the Midland Reporter-Telegram that he has not seen such high turnover in two decades.

Texas faces especially tough competition from the energy industry, plus it has a low state Medicaid reimbursement rate at $143 per day, compared to a national average of $190. THCA, in addition to fighting for more Medicaid funding, is working with schools to engage young people with long-term care, and to create a career market around people also caring for their families.

MIDWEST

Managers deny intimidation

WISCONSIN  — The Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services found that female residents at Maplewood Sauk Prairie were in danger because there was not enough supervision of a registered sex offender, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The residents also accused the administrator and director of nursing with attempting to stop staff from speaking with investigators about Galen J. Malisch's crimes, according to a July report.

In a statement to the Baraboo News Republic, the nursing home's administrator said the facility “will continue to work closely with the Department of Health Services to advance our shared goal of protecting the health and well-being of our residents.”He also apologized to staff for “misconceptions.”

Malisch, 69, is accused of groping multiple female residents. He faces two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault of a mentally ill victim, alongside misdemeanor charges.

In contention is whether administrative staff told employees to stay quiet during a state investigation of the assaults. One employee told an investigator “we all knew,” but the nursing home refutes that any intimidation occurred.

Aide charged in lift death

MINNESOTA  — The family of a Redwood Falls nursing home resident who died in a lift accident last year is suing the employee held responsible.

Francisco Javier Ramirez, 29, was moving the 101-year-old resident out of a bathtub at the Good Samaritan Society in Redwood Falls, MN, in September 2017, authorities said. He attempted to use a mechanical lift but didn't follow proper procedures, resulting in the resident sustaining multiple fractures. He left her alone while he went to get help, reports said. She later died, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Ramirez had been trained on lift protocols but ignored policy by putting the lift up at its highest level without the help of a second worker, police said.

He was charged with second-degree manslaughter, two counts of criminal neglect and one count of mistreatment of patients in June.

West

Home to pay for ‘dumping'

CALIFORNIA — A Los Angeles nursing home will pay $450,000 to settle patient dumping allegations, the city attorney announced in late June.

A resident who was diabetic and recovering from a partial foot amputation said staff at Avalon Villa in Willowbrook woke him said he was being shipped to a homeless shelter, according to the LA Times. He was sent to Union Rescue Mission, which has received so many such individuals that it installed a “dumping cam” to catch providers leaving patients at its doorstep.

Avalon will pay $75,000 in civil penalties, $325,000 to hire and train staff in homeless discharge planning protocols, and $50,000 to fund housing for homeless patients under the settlement terms.