Federal Regulators: “Substandard Quality of Care” at Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis

On Your Side
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  MEMPHIS, Tenn. --   We now know why dozens of residents at Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis were forced to move somewhere else for care.

The On Your Side Investigators obtained federal documents showing the nursing home put patients' health and safety at risk.

Carol Diamond said it was no shock to her when WREG reported federal authorities cut off payments to Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis for Medicare and Medicaid residents.

Her husband Luther was a patient at the nursing home from Mid to late March.

She said the problems started his first night there.

"He pushed the button for help, he needed to use the bathroom, they didn't come, he tried to reach his urinal and he fell," said Diamond.

Diamond said what was worse was what Luther had to do to get help.

"Forty-five minutes, he laid on the floor, and the only way to get the attention was to throw the urinal into the hallway," she told WREG.

According to Diamond, problems ranged from Luther not getting his medicine on time to questionable record keeping.

It's one of many complaints Diamond shared with the state.

"Lack of nursing skill, lack of compassion, lack of concern, lack of communication, lack of patient care," she said.

Patient care was at the center of this letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis.

It notes surveyors found conditions at the nursing home that "constituted immediate jeopardy, a substandard quality of care and actual harm to residents' health and safety."

According to the letter sent to the nursing home, CMS terminated its provider agreement and issued a denial of payment for all Medicare and Medicaid residents, along with new admissions.

While Signature wouldn't confirm how many residents the change affected, WREG was told roughly a hundred patients received notification letters from the nursing home, meaning they needed to move.

Tennessee's Long Term Care Ombudsman Laura Brown said she was helping affected families.

"The residents have the right to 30 day written notice, they also have the right to be discharged to a location of their choosing, they have a right to be discharged to a safe and appropriate location, so a location that can meet their level of care," she said.

Late Thursday a spokesperson for Signature told the On Your Side Investigators CMS reduced its penalty.

Signature Healthcare Media Relations Manager Ben Adkins said by phone, rather than a denial for all patients on Medicare and Medicaid, "There will be a monetary fine and they will also temporarily halt payment for new admissions."

No word on what this means for residents already in the process of moving and we've yet to get confirmation from CMS.

In the meantime, Diamond said she felt compelled to speak out.

"When I knew you were doing an investigative story I contacted you," she said. "I don't mind talking on camera; I don't mind, if I can save a life."

Adkins wouldn't comment on Mr. Diamond's case specifically, but said the company welcomes feedback and the opportunity to rectify problems when possible.

He also said the nursing home is preparing its Plan of Correction to submit to CMS and the state.

Contact the Tennessee Long Term Care Ombudsman's Office in Memphis at 901-529-4565, ext. 215 or 877-236-0013.


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