Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nursing Home's Neglect Causes Seymour Man's Death, Results In No Fines

WRTV's Kara Kenney has a very troubling report on the death of a 43-year old Seymour man as a result of the neglect of Seymour Crossings, one of the dozens of nursing homes owned throughout the state of Indiana by the Marion Co. Health & Hospital Corporation and operated by American Senior Communities. Despite the gross negligence of the care providers uncovered by a subsequent investigation, regulators incredibly issued no fines against the nursing home and the Jackson County prosecutor chose not to bring criminal charges in the man's death.

Tim Johnson, a Navy veteran who suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis and other health problems, had to be placed in a nursing home despite his young age because he could no longer walk. There's probably a linkage between Johnson's service in the military and the health problems from which he suffered since our military frequently uses our servicemen as human guinea pigs for Nazi-like medical experiments, but that's a matter for another investigation. Johnson died in a Columbus hospital on October 11, 2014 as a result of sepsis and cardiac arrest caused by grotesque injuries he sustained while in the care of Seymour Crossing that were not properly treated. What a follow-up investigation uncovered was chilling.
. . . The report shows on October 4, a staffer went to check on Johnson and found him lethargic, disoriented, whimpering and saying ‘please.’
Johnson ended up in the hospital with sores and wounds on his body.
The state/federal report said an Intensive Care Unit nurse at the hospital noted Johnson was unkempt, unclean and had a very strong smell.
“(The right arm dressing) was saturated and foul…smelled like it had been there a while and we were all wearing masks,” an ICU nurse told investigators.
Johnson’s family took pictures of the wounds, too graphic to show, including one on his right arm so deep it went down to the bone and muscle.
“I became infuriated,” said Johnson’s 15-year-old daughter, Sydney. “They didn’t care for him the way they should have.”
Johnson developed an infection complication known as sepsis, went into cardiac arrest, and was taken off life support at the age of 43 . . .
Johnson's family members had not noticed the severe wound on his arm when they visited him shortly before he was taken to the hospital because it was covered by a gown he had been given to wear. Investigation records Kenney reviewed showed a bandage covering the wound hadn't been changed for nearly a week before he was transferred to the hospital on October 4. The inspection report said the nurse treating Johnson had failed to follow protocol for treating the wound and had ordered treatment of it discontinued. His family members felt he wasn't given adequate care and tried unsuccessfully to transfer him to another facility that accepted Medicaid patients prior to this tragedy.

Seymour Crossing implemented a corrective action plan to better handle patient skin problems according to the investigative findings. Regulators gave the nursing home a slap on the wrist and shockingly did not levy any fines against the facility despite finding it had failed to provide care services for highest well-being. The nursing home was fined $7,897.50 in 2014 for unrelated deficiencies found during a survey of the facility, including four deficiencies for "failing to maintain an odor free environment and failing to respect the dignity of patients." The Indiana Department of Health declined to comment on Kenney's story.

I've written at length before about the racket the Health & Hospital Corporation is running with these nursing homes. The nonprofit HHC, which is only authorized by state statute to provide health care services in Marion County, implemented a Medicaid fraud scheme under which it began acquiring nursing homes all over the state. Using its status as a county hospital, it's allowed to receive Medicaid reimbursements of up to 50% more than other long-term care facilities. HHC creates the fiction it owns the nursing homes that are in reality operated by American Senior Communities. HHC and ASC split their Medicaid racket profits, which HHC uses to finance other projects in Marion County, including its $750 million Eskenazi Hospital. None of the higher Medicaid reimbursements are used to provide better care to the nursing homes' patients. Despite building that costly state-of-the-art hospital, horror stories are already circulating about poor care and unsanitary conditions there.

People in the long-term care industry complain that state regulators treat the HHC nursing homes with kid gloves because of the political muscle behind it. That's obviously the case in Johnson's case. Any other facility would have been slapped with hefty fines for causing the death of a patient because of gross neglect that occurred in this case. None of the power brokers who control HHC could give a damn about protecting the poorest and most vulnerable people in our state. I get so sick of the media reports in Indianapolis constantly bragging up HHC and its top administrators. They're all about operating yet another  government racket to line their own pockets.


Flogger said...

Ahh, the convergence of Corporatism and the Government, of course all the "watch dogs" in the Government are toothless when the welfare of the people are in jeopardy or at risk. Will Pence come back from his junket to Japan and conduct an investigation??? Will the leadership in the Indiana House and Senate demand answers??? I think we know the answer will be NO!!!

Occasionally, the Media will report on the egregious examples of poor nursing home care in Indiana, but there never is any determined followup, by them to hold our political leadership accountable.

Anonymous said...

Let's here it for the oligarchy!

Anonymous said...

My late mother was a patient at an American Senior Communities Alzheimer's care unit near Indianapolis a few years ago. There was always an issue with her care. Medications found on the floor and in the cushions of the furniture. Unsanitary conditions. Just to name a few. A lot of lip service from the upper management (usually someone hired straight out of college) and a lot of turnover with the staff.
I lived out of town but the first question I was always asked by the staff when I came for a visit was "how long are you in town for?" They hated seeing me come because they knew I wouldn't tolerate the sub- standard operating procedures of the facility.
The only way anyone can get these elder care "factories" to provide proper care for their loved ones is to stay up their *sses all of the time.
The care providers who do a good job are far outnumbered by the sorry ones who are only there for a check and could care less about providing compassionate care that they charge people's life savings to provide.
Thanks again big brother government for failing our elderly beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the people actually giving the care are paid a pittance while the owners/administrators are getting the big bucks.

Anonymous said...

I agree 10:09, however, just because you are paid a meager wage is no excuse to do a terrible job.

Anonymous said...

Per follows are their officers:
Name Board Relationships Title Age
James G. Burkhart CPA No Relationships Chief Executive Officer 50
Dan Benson No Relationships Chief Operating Officer --
Sarah Federle No Relationships Activities Director of American Village --
Ryan Levengood No Relationships Executive Director of Bethany Village