Nursing home residents forced to move after facility loses federal funding

On Your Side
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Many residents at Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis in Memphis will be forced to move after federal authorities cut off funding to the facility.

WREG discovered it's a temporary move related to deficiencies state surveyors found during a recent visit.

The On Your Side Investigators visited the facility on Park Avenue to speak with an administrator after a concerned family member sent an email regarding the issue.

An employee who wouldn't identify himself asked us to leave.  We emailed and contacted the nursing home's parent company, Signature Healthcare.

Signature Healthcare confirms starting April 11, it will no longer be paid by the federal government or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for Medicare/Medicaid resident care.

This is significant because many nursing home patients are Medicare recipients and facilities are reimbursed through CMS for the care.

The move by CMS appears to be a disciplinary action.

Signature Healthcare Media Relations Manager Ben Adkins says instead of issuing the facility a monetary fine for survey "tags", CMS decided to temporarily cut its funding.

Adkins confirms this is all related to a survey of the facility that took place earlier this year.

"We are working through appropriate channels of recourse to try and get this rarely-used remedy changed, or at least delayed for the safety and well-being of our residents," said Adkins.

WREG previously reported state inspectors were at the nursing home for weeks during the month of February.

The administrator who answered our questions at the time is no longer in that position at Saint Francis.

Officials with the Tennessee State Department of Health would only say at the time, that it was related to an extended, annual survey and multiple complaint investigations.

That survey isn't public record yet so WREG can't obtain a copy, but Signature confirms it was "disappointing." Adkins also says they don't agree with all of the findings.

All of this means many residents will have to leave Signature Healthcare at Saint Francis.

Adkins says the company is offering to relocate residents to other nursing homes in Memphis, including Signature facilities until the state finds the facility corrected the violations, at which time the nursing home will be eligible to receive federal funding again.

According to Adkins, the company plans to inform the state as early as next week that the facility is back in compliance.

Signature says it will also transfer some of its staff to other facilities it owns in the area so no jobs are lost.

If any patients' families have questions they should call the nursing home at 901-765-3110.

They can also contact the state Ombudsman's Office at 877-236-0013.

WREG contacted CMS, but had not heard back by the time this story aired.  State health officials confirmed regional administrators from CMS sent the nursing home a letter regarding the matter in late March.

The On Your Side Investigators have requested a copy of that letter. The survey, or Statement of Deficiencies should become public record later this month.

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