ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — We’re learning for the first time that two Central New York nursing homes, notorious for neglecting residents, are being watched closely by the federal government.
Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, formerly James Square, in Syracuse and Onondaga Center in Minoa, have been working to clean up their act.
The names of these facilities appear on a list from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the federal government’s Health Department, but the agency didn’t release the list. Two Pennsylvania senators did.
The list is eight pages with nearly 400 names of troubled nursing homes in cities across the country that are notorious for resident neglect and poor patient care.
Some of the names are well-known problems, historically bad enough to be listed a “special focus facility” by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But most of the names are out for the very first time.
Nursing homes that are only candidates for the program, including Bishop and Onondaga Center, are on a list kept internally by the government.
In some cases, homes are just as bad, but don’t have the oversight the ones in the program require.
The managers of Bishop Health and Rehabilitation Center, who took over James Square in January of 2018, are commenting on this list. A Spokesperson says, “The report is based on historical surveys. As you know, the surveys they years before our takeover were atrocious and the one survey we’ve had thus far has been very good.” He points to improved staffing levels above the state average, new programs for patients and building renovations.
Onondaga Center has a similar stance, claiming similar improvements. Their spokesperson said,
“The CMS listings that are released include a broad lookback meant to include prior years of non-compliance, basically a three to four years lag. In effect, one year of improved results will not shift a facility off the list. For instance, there are buildings currently on the June 2019 CMS listing of troubled skilled nursing facilities that have been in the special focus program, graduated the program with 4 strong, positive survey results but are still on this list due to the fact that as of four months ago they were still a special focus facility.
When Centers Health Care took over the former Capital Living facilities in September of 2017, the company promised to bring longevity and stability to the Central New York, the Adirondacks and Capitol region. Since the takeover almost two years ago, Centers Health Care evaluated the various needs of each facility including healthcare, technology and staffing of each facility. It was well known that Onondaga Center in Minoa, New York had a staffing situation but ever since a seasoned Central New York – Adirondacks regional administrator joined the company in early 2018, constructive systems were put in place in order to stabilize the facility.
Over the past 18 months, a staffing issues exists no more. A new Administrator was brought on board, who’s job continues to be to lead both a corporate and clinical team in order to develop a family communication system. That system took off which had implemented structure in the facility, in turn opening up communications lines with family members at leadership. Since the development of these new systems, complaints have fallen dramatically, which was all due to open communication lines between family council and Onondaga Center leadership. There are RN’s in place 24 hours a day, open forum discussions monthly, but an “open door” policy is always the norm when a family member has questions. Onondaga Center also has monthly “town hall” meetings with their staff, set-up to answer any questions they have as well. There is a structure that has been in place that documents all discussions so everything is accounted for.”
We don’t know from the federal government at which point Bishop or Onondaga Center were put on the list and if the problems the health department accuses are outdated or still happening.
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