Law Firm Representing Injured Victims Residing at Ridgecrest Healthcare Center
To keep the public informed, the state of Arizona and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) routinely update their Medicare.gov website. This data contains information concerning deficiencies and violations occurring in nursing facilities throughout the state of Arizona and nationwide.
When a facility is found to be in violation of federal and state nursing home regulations, the nursing staff and administration must take immediate appropriate action to make corrections to their substandard level of care.
If the facility is unwilling or unable to make necessary corrections, CMS may choose to designate the nursing home as a Special Focus Facility (SFF) and place the Home on a watchlist. In the months and years ahead, the facility must undergo more than the normal amount of surveys and investigations to ensure the health and well-being of every resident are protected.
In recent months, Ridgecrest Healthcare Center was designated a Special Focus Facility. Even though the nursing home was offered the opportunity to make improvements, investigators and surveyors have determined that the facility has not significantly improved enough to be removed from the watchlist. Some of the concerns over serious violations and deficiencies are listed below.
Ridgecrest Healthcare Center, AZ
This 200-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating nursing facility provides care and services to the residents of Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona. The Home is located at:
16640 N. 38th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85032
in addition to providing skilled nursing care, the facility also offers rehabilitation and recovery care, therapeutic services, massage therapy, recreational therapy, and wound care.
When serious offenses, violations, and deficiencies are identified, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issues monetary penalties against the nursing home to redirect the facility’s focus on improving their quality of care to residents. These fines serve as a reminder that changes need to be made immediately.
Over the last three years, Ridgecrest Healthcare was penalized twice, including fines of $24,083 on March 2, 2015, and $7063 on June 8, 2016. Also, Medicare denied payment for services provided by the facility on March 2, 2015, due to substandard care.
Over the last three years, there have been 30 filed formal complaints against the facility that have resulted in citations.
Current Nursing Home Resident Safety Concerns
To ensure the public remains fully informed about the care that every nursing facility in the US provides, the CMS and the state of Arizona routinely update information on the Medicare.gov website. Families use this data as an effective tool to determine where to place a loved one who requires the best care. The data is useful in comparing different community nursing homes.
Currently, Ridgecrest Healthcare Center maintains a below average overall two out of five stars ranking compared to all facilities nationwide. This ranking includes a much below average one out of five stars for health inspections, four out of five stars for staffing, and five out of five stars for quality measures.
Some of the serious concerns about violations and deficiencies occurring at this facility are listed below.
- Failure to Report and Investigate Acts or Allegations of Abuse, Neglect or Mistreatment
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 9, 2017, the state investigator noted the facility’s failure “to ensure an allegation of abuse involving one resident was reported to the State agency in a timely manner.” Surveyors identified the failure after reviewing a November 20, 2016, Behavior Note.
The note revealed that “the resident asked a Certified Nursing Assistant [CNA] for a clothing protector and the [CNA] informed the resident that he would get one for him in a minute because he was busy. Per the note, the resident then became upset and started yelling and tried to get into a physical altercation with a peer. The resident then became combative with the Certified Nursing Assistant and was escorted to his room to calm him down.”
After returning to the room, the resident then came out of his room and made a phone call to a family member, accusing a Certified Nursing Assistant of slapping him. According to the facility’s investigative documentation, the resident alleged that he was slapped by a Certified Nursing Assistant [that day].” However, the investigator noted that there was “no documentation that the allegation of abuse was reported to the State Agency within 24 hours as required (by law), nor any documentation that the results of the investigation were submitted to the State Agency within five working days of the incident.”
The surveyor interviewed the Director of Nursing who stated that “all allegations of abuse were to be investigated and reported to the appropriate agencies as required by law.” The Director also stated that the former Director of Nursing was not following the policy, by not reporting the incident to the State agency.”
- Failure to Develop, Implement and Enforce Policies to Prevent Mistreatment, Neglect or Abuse
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 9, 2017, the state investigator noted that the facility had failed to “file their Abuse Policy by failing to report an allegation of abuse to the State Agency in a timely manner.” The investigator reviewed the facility’s Abuse Prevention, Investigation and Reporting Policy that confirms this failure.
- Failure to Ensure That Every Resident Receives Enough Fluids to Keep Them Healthy and Prevent Dehydration
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 9, 2017, the State surveyor reviewed facility documentation and hospital records. The surveyor identified a failure to “ensure one resident was offered sufficient fluids to maintain hydration.
According to the resident’s October 7, 2016, Nutrition Risk Assessment, “the resident had swelling difficulty related to dysphagia and required thickened liquids. The assessment also included the resident had difficulty feeding self.”
The October 2016 Nurse Progress Note revealed that “the resident was seen pocketing food this morning during breakfast and usually took medication in applesauce but was unable to swallow at the time. The resident reported that he was not feeling well, and the nurse noticed what seemed to be a deficit to the left side during hand grips and a slight left-sided facial droop. The physician was notified, and the resident was transferred by Emergency Medical Services to the hospital for an evaluation.”
A review of October 10, 2016, Hospital Admission History and Physical (H & P) revealed that according to the facility’s nursing staff, “the resident was lethargic and was not responding as usual. He was unable to swallow when taking pills and a facial droop was noticed. Per the documentation, the resident presented a stroke alert.
Tests were completed and showed no infarct or mass. There was a small vessel ischemic changes and cerebral atrophy. There was a significant vascular calcification, but no significant stenosis and the stroke alert was downgraded.”
The surveyor interviewed a Certified Nursing Assistant on March 9, 2017, who said that the resident “was dependent on staff to be fed the required thickening fluids.” The Certified Nursing Assistant also stated that “they had provided the fluids because the resident did not ask for fluids.” However, the Registered Dietitian at the facility “confirmed was no documented evidence that the resident’s meals and fluid intakes were monitored on October 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, and 10.”
The hospital’s H & P “further included that based on lab results, the resident appeared profoundly dehydrated. The documentation further included …[that it is] suspected that “the severe dehydration” did not occur overnight and possibly not over the last few days; metabolic acidosis with profound dehydration” was a part of the diagnosis. The resident remained in the facility from October 10 through October 14, 2016.”
Are You the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect at an Arizona Nursing Home?
Were you, or member your family, emotionally, physically or mentally abused, neglected or mistreated while residing in any nursing facility, including Ridgecrest Healthcare Center? If so, you are likely entitled to receive monetary recovery for your damages. However, these cases are complex often require a skilled nursing home negligence attorney who specializes in neglect and abuse cases.
These kinds of cases are usually filed and resolved through contingency fee arrangements. This agreement allows you access to instant legal advice, counsel, and representation to build a case for compensation without the need for an upfront payment.
Your legal bills are settled only after the attorney has successfully resolved your case through a negotiated out of court settlement or at the conclusion of a successful jury trial. Your attorney will ensure you receive adequate compensation to cover all of your medical bills, hospital expenses, pain, suffering and any and all expenses associated with wrongful death.
For more information on the laws and regulations related to Arizona nursing homes, look here.