Saturday, July 01, 2017

South Jersey Nursing Home Offering Hospice, Palliative Care Shuts Down After Persistently Poor Conditions Force Feds To Terminate Medicare/Medicaid Reimbursement Contracts; State To Help Over 130 Residents In Scramble To Find New Accommodations

In Mount Laurel. New Jersey, the Burlington County Times reports:
  • More than 130 residents of the Mount Laurel Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center were transferred to other facilities [] after its provider agreement with Medicare and Medicaid was terminated because of poor conditions.

    Residents and their families were sent a letter May 30 that the Church Road facility could no longer accept payment through Medicare and Medicaid as of Friday [June 16], as ordered by the federal Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    The facility closed Friday. It had 220 beds and offered various services that include palliative care and physical and occupational therapy.
    The Mount Laurel Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center is listed on the federal Medicare website as a special focus facility, a designation given to nursing and rehabilitation centers with a history of persistent poor quality of care.

    Multiple health inspections over the past year revealed various safety issues, including failure to report physical altercations between residents; unclean and unsanitary living environments; inadequate intervention for a suicidal resident; insufficient training for staff; and failure to investigate and report sexual abuse and harassment between residents.

    Brenda Leese, whose husband has been a resident at the facility since 2014, said he had an overall positive experience. But the Collingswood resident added that she was displeased with the way management treated the staff.

    “The employees are very dedicated,” Leese said. “I think at times the communication between management and employees and management and families was holding back progress.”

    The employees were not notified about the closing until after the residents had received word, she said. In some cases, employees were told by residents themselves.

    Leese’s husband has dementia and is in hospice. He was transferred to a facility in Cherry Hill on Wednesday.

    My husband is not able to process all this,” she said. “It’s better to be oblivious.”

    Leese said 10 residents per day were moving out in the week leading up to the closure. It was hoped the new owners would let the residents stay for free during the transition, as the new company would most likely accept Medicare and Medicaid, she said.

    Some residents needed to relocate to centers farther away because of bed shortages.

    “Their lives have been strained as a result,” she said.

    Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, has been working with the New Jersey Department of Health to ensure residents are accommodated as best as possible. The department is overseeing the transition.

    “I want to make sure residents are not collateral damage because we had a bad operator,” Singleton said.