These 12 nursing properties are the worst in NJ and the state shares the blame, surveillance fees

New Jersey taxpayers pay greater than $100 million a 12 months to assist a dozen substandard nursing properties that put their residents’ security and well-being in danger, in keeping with the newest in a collection of scathing stories from the Workplace of the State Comptroller.

However Kevin Walsh, the Appearing State Comptroller, was equally crucial of the state Division of Well being, which licenses and inspects nursing properties, and the Division of Human Companies, the company that distributes $1.72 billion in {dollars} yearly from state and federally funded Medicaid packages. .

“We raised the alarm a 12 months in the past, however the state has chosen to keep up the established order. Nursing properties can get one-star rankings for years and by no means face important penalties,” Walsh stated.

The Comptroller’s report, launched Friday, discovered that poor efficiency by nursing properties had actual and doubtlessly deadly penalties for residents, noting that state inspectors discovered “widespread and dangerous circumstances within the lowest-rated services.”

In some, he stated residents had confronted abusive workers members, clogged bathrooms, damaged doorways and furnishings, poorly maintained and soiled services and affected person rooms, understaffed shifts, and untrained workers administering drugs.

“For a few of these services, these sorts of issues have existed in numerous types for practically a decade,” the report stated.

The comptroller’s findings marked the third report in 13 months concentrating on nursing properties which have repeatedly acquired the bottom doable high quality rankings: one out of 5 stars below a federal ranking system primarily based on well being inspections by of the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies, or CMS.

Andrew Aronson, chief government officer of the Well being Care Affiliation of New Jersey, which represents the long-term care trade, stated the comptroller’s report is “horribly deceptive and fully ignores the truth that a nursing dwelling offering high-quality care high quality” could obtain low-cost stars.

“This state workplace seems to be ill-informed and ill-equipped to objectively and constructively criticize nursing dwelling suppliers and the state companies that regulate them. We requested to satisfy with the comptroller’s workplace to assist them higher perceive the care dwelling sector however had been ignored,” she stated.

Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Mercer County, one of many services recognized within the comptroller’s report, additionally disputed the findings.

“Hamilton Grove has labored carefully with the NJ Division of Well being and has been involved with them on a month-to-month foundation for the previous two years and is offering wonderful high quality care to its residents,” stated Administrator Steve Lampert . “Any statements on the contrary within the New Jersey Comptroller’s Workplace report are fully inaccurate and misinformed.”

A spokesman for the Deptford Middle for Rehabilitation and Well being Care in Gloucester County stated that along with a management change, the nursing dwelling has begun partnering with Governor Phil Murphy’s new initiative known as ‘Mission Crucial’, designed to assist the ‘assistant to long-term care services to get again on observe. Jeff Jacomowitz stated the initiative will result in “lasting change” for the ability and residents.

“As all the time, the security and care of Deptford residents is at the start our primary precedence,” he stated.

The ten different nursing properties named within the report didn’t instantly return calls and emails in search of remark.

Seven of the 12 services highlighted in Friday’s report had been recognized within the Comptroller’s first report in February 2022. Solely one of many 12 has proven indicators of current enchancment, the report famous.

Three services confirmed no enchancment in star ranking from 2021 to Q1 2023: South Jersey Prolonged Care in Bridgeton, Sterling Manor in Maple Shade, and Warren Haven Rehab and Nursing Middle in Oxford.

The Comptroller’s preliminary report final 12 months named 15 services that Walsh’s workplace stated had failed to enhance for years however had not suffered any important impression. Fourteen of the 15 had been for-profit services and plenty of had been affiliated with different low-quality long-term care suppliers, in keeping with the report.

The second report launched six months later discovered that greater than half failed to enhance the standard of care.

In response to the primary report, the Division of Human Companies, which oversees the $17 billion Medicaid program, started withholding “high quality incentive funds” from these low-level staff, which equates to 1000’s of {dollars} in extra refunds.

Walsh stated this technique is not punitive sufficient to pressure these merchants to do higher. The state may droop hospitalizations or transfer residents to better-performing nursing properties till circumstances enhance. Well being and human providers officers may additionally stop operators from buying new services, in keeping with the report.

In a written response to the controller’s solutions included within the report, human providers officers stated they refused to undertake them resulting from “the restrictions of the CMS star ranking system.”

Nursing dwelling operators argued that the star ranking system was designed to assist shoppers purchase nursing properties. Punishing care properties primarily based on their evaluation is unfair as a result of the circumstances, and even possession and administration, mirrored in inspection stories are sometimes one or two years outdated, they argue.


In a earlier report, state officers defended their method to enhancing the standard of nursing properties by “setting requirements and offering assist for all services to satisfy them,” the Comptroller’s report stated, citing the state’s response.

On Friday afternoon, human providers spokesman Tom Hester stated the comptroller’s solutions, whereas well-intentioned, may do extra hurt than good.

“Eradicating Medicaid funding from a certified facility, particularly primarily based on doubtlessly incomplete knowledge, could also be extra more likely to endanger remaining residents,” Hester stated.

State Division of Well being spokeswoman Dalya Ewais defended her monitoring methods, which embody hiring extra inspectors, imposing harsher penalties for repeat offenders and creating “mission-critical groups” that they assist implement modifications in struggling care properties.

“Since its inception in July 2022, a Mission Crucial Group has been absolutely recruited and deployed throughout three services teaching and aiding them to enhance processes and in the end take care of residents,” Ewais stated in an e-mail response. -mail on the finish of Friday. “One (nursing dwelling) was efficiently and safely closed; one bought higher; and the third is presently underway,” she stated.

Each state companies labored to shut the Woodland Behavioral Well being and Nursing Middle in Andover in August after years of complaints and quite a few violations in August.

However different equally troubled nursing properties like Woodland stay in enterprise and on the controller’s listing, the report stated. The state should turn into extra aggressive.

“Except the state considerably modifications its method to overseeing and funding these services, it can proceed to spend tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of taxpayer funds on the bottom rated nursing properties, and Medicaid beneficiaries they’ll proceed to undergo the customarily horrible, typically harmful, and typically deadly penalties,” in keeping with the report.

Residents stay with the “every day humiliations” of chilly meals and rooms affected by dried excreta, however some have encountered circumstances that threaten their well being, the report stated. In Hamilton Grove, inspectors found feeding tubes inserted incorrectly, placing residents liable to aspiration pneumonia, which will be deadly.

At Cherry Hill’s Silver Healthcare Middle, investigators uncovered a number of critical violations. The power failed to research how a resident broke his arm. Multiple resident has not acquired sufficient fluids to keep away from suffocation. It isn’t even rated by CMS, recognized as a “Particular Focus Facility” resulting from what regulators have known as “its historical past of significant high quality points.”

At South Jersey Prolonged Care, a resident “roughly handled” by two staff fell out of a wheelchair, forcing him to be hospitalized with chest ache.

They had been amongst 12 nursing properties that acquired a star for the primary month of six of the previous eight quarters from 2013 to 2022.

The Phoenix Middle for Rehabilitation and Pediatrics in Haskell made the controller listing for the second time. Inspectors slapped the ability with a right away breach of danger for supplying residents with the flawed feeding tube formulation.

Earlier than being bought and renamed, Phoenix was the Wanaque Middle for Nursing and Rehabilitation, the place 11 youngsters died in 2018 from an out-of-control adenovirus. 13 households, together with seven whose youngsters died, settled for $6.2 million of their wrongful loss of life case in opposition to the previous operators in 2021.


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Ted Sherman will be reached at Observe him on Twitter @TedShermanSL

Susan Okay. Livio will be reached at Observe her on Twitter @SusanKLivio

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