Injured Victims from Riverside Health and Rehab Center Seek Financial Compensation
Nursing home regulators from the state of South Carolina and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conduct routine investigations and surveys in nursing homes statewide. These inspections help identify serious violations, health hazards, and deficiencies that require immediate attention.
If the nursing staff fails to make necessary changes, revise their policies and procedures, and improve the level of care provided to residents, they could lose their contract to provide care and services to state and federally-funded patients. In egregious cases, the Home might be designated a Special Focus Facility (SFF) and added to the national Medicare watch list.
Recently, state and federal regulators designated Riverside Health and Rehab Center of Charleston a Special Focus Facility. Now that the Home is on the federal watch list, they will undergo many more investigations than the nursing homes that are compliant with rules and regulations. Likely, the facility will remain on the watch list for many years to come. Some of the serious violations and deficiencies identified by the surveyors are listed below.
Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center
This Nursing Center is a “for-profit” home providing care and services to the residents and visitors of Charleston and Charleston County, South Carolina. The 160-certified bed Long-Term Care Home is located at:
2375 Baker Hospital Boulevard
Charleston, SC 29405
In addition to providing around-the-clock skilled nursing care, the facility also offers:
- Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech therapy
- Respite care
- Wound VAC care
- IV therapy
- Long-term placement
- Stroke recovery
More Than $640,000 in Monetary Penalties
Both the State of South Carolina and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are authorized to issue monetary penalties to nursing facilities with egregious violations and serious deficiencies. In the last three years, Riverside Health and Rehab Center has been fined four separate times. These penalties include a $271,408 fine on March 3, 2015, $99,450 fine on July 27, 2015, $13,407 fine on January 17, 2017, and $260,364 fine on March 31, 2017.
Additionally, Medicare refused a request for payment for services rendered by this facility on March 31, 2017, due to substandard care. State surveyors have issued 23 health violations in the last three years which is nearly four times the South Carolina nursing homes average of 6.6 citations. There were an additional five formal complaints in the last three years that resulted in an issued citation and two facility-reported issues that led to citations.
Current Nursing Home Resident Safety Concerns
Nursing home regulators that work for the State and the Federal Government routinely update the national Medicare.gov website on every nursing home in South Carolina. The update includes detailed information on safety concerns, health violations, opened investigations, filed complaints, dangerous hazards, and incident inquiries. Many families and individuals use this valuable information as an effective tool to determine where to place a loved one in the local community who requires the highest level of nursing care.
Currently, Riverside Health and Rehab Center maintains a much below average one out of five stars ranking compared to all other nursing homes in the US. This ranking includes one out of five stars for health inspections, one out of five stars for staffing rating, and two out of five stars for quality measures. Some detailed information on violations and deficiencies that have occurred at the facility are listed below.
- Failure to Notify the Resident’s Doctor of a Meaningful Change in Their Condition
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, the state investigator noted that the facility had failed to “notify the physician and responsible party of a significant weight loss [for one resident] reviewed for nutrition.” The investigator reviewed a resident’s medical records on March 27, 2017, that revealed the resident “weighed 100 pounds on February 12, 2017, and 95 pounds on March 6, 2017, which represents a 5% weight loss.
Further review of the resident’s Vital Report records indicated that since January 2, 2017, when the resident weighed 103 pounds, the resident had lost 8.6% of their overall body weight “in a two-month period.” A data collection/evaluation nutritional document noted that “the resident’s Ideal Body Weight Range was 108 – 132 pounds.”
The surveyor reviewed the resident’s March 31, 2017, Nurses Note that revealed that there “was no evidence that the physician and family were notified of the resident’s significant weight loss.” The facility’s Certified Dietary Manager was interviewed the previous day on March 30, 2017, along with the Dietary Consultant who both “confirmed that the resident had a significant weight loss and [that] the physician and family had not been notified of the significant weight loss.”
The facility was reminded of their Significant Change policy that states in part “The physician, legal representative or appropriate family member will be notified of the change in the patient/resident status.”
- Failure to Provide Care to the Resident That Keeps or Builds Their Dignity and Respect of Individuality
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, the state investigator noted that the facility had “failed to maintain the dignity of residents during two dining observations on two [units at the facility].” Observations were made of the residents “in the 300 – 400 Dining Rooms/day areas [who] did not receive glasses for cartons of beverages, were not served sequentially, and did not have their plates/utensils removed from serving trays. One resident was noted to be eating at eye level and from an ‘over the bed’ table in the dining room [that are typically used in resident’s rooms].”
The surveyor interviewed the Director Nursing on the morning March 31, 2017, who stated that “tray distribution in the dining room should be to serve one table at a time so that no one is waiting to eat.” The Director stated that “plates should then be removed from the trays, [and] no information was provided with regard to the resident eating from the ‘over the bed’ table at eye level.”
The facility was reminded of their Resident Rights under the Federal Law policy that reads in part “the facility must promote care for residents in a manner and in an environment, that maintains or enhances each resident’s dignity and respect and full recognition of his/her individuality.”
- Failure to Listen to Residents or Family Groups or Act on the Complaints or Suggestions
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, the state investigator noted the facility’s failure “to provide evidence of resolution of grievances for Resident Council concerns [involving] the months of September 2016 through March 2017.” It was documented that a representative from the Resident Council “voiced ongoing concerns that grievances brought to the attention of the staff were not resolved.”
A review of the February 3, 2017, Complaint/Grievance Report revealed “concerns of insect activity. The documentation of investigation noted and intervention on a weekly basis with pest control to monitor the situation. The resolution section of the report, which included satisfaction and signature of the complainant was incomplete.”
- Failure to Provide Necessary Housekeeping and Maintenance Services
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, surveyors noted that the facility had “failed to provide housekeeping and maintenance services necessary to maintain a sanitary and comfortable environment on three of four units” in the 100-unit, 300-unit, and 400-unit of the facility. Upon observation, it became obvious that the “walls, floors, doors and furniture were noted [in need of] repair on three of four units and a prevalent urine odor was noted on the 100-unit.” A Licensed Practical Nurse at the facility verified the smell of urine odor on March 31, 2017, in the 100-unit.
- Failure to Revise a Resident’s Care Plan for Any Major Change in the Resident’s Physical or Mental Health
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, surveyors noted that the facility had “failed to complete a Significant Change in Status Assessment (SCSA) in a timely manner for [a resident] reviewed for hospice services. The facility did not complete the SCSA within 14 days following admission to hospice.” The investigator reviewed the resident’s MDS (Minimum Data Set that “indicated the SCSA was not done until February 4, 2017. This assessment was not done within 14 days of hospice admission as required.”
- Failure to Ensure That Every Resident Receives an Accurate Assessment by Qualified Health Professional
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, it was noted that the facility had failed “to accurately assess [one resident] reviewed for pressure ulcers” who was identified during a review of patients with “unnecessary medications.” A review of the records indicated that “the 14-day MDS [Minimum Data Set] assessment for [the resident] was coded incorrectly for antipsychotics and antidepressants.
- Failure to Ensure Services Are Provided by the Nursing Facility That Meet Professional Standards of Quality
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, investigators noted that the facility had failed “to ensure that the assessment and care planning was sufficient to meet the needs of [one newly admitted resident]” before the “completion of the first comprehensive assessment and conference of Care Plan.” Surveyors found that the “interim care plans for [the resident] did not include behaviors exhibited prior to hospitalization or… activity associated with the resident’s medical condition which the resident was] receiving current medication.”
The surveyor reviewed the resident’s Hospital Discharge information and the December 5, 2016, Physician Admission Information documented on March 29, 2017. The documents reveal that the resident “had exhibited unsafe behaviors (wielding a chainsaw, gun, and chisel) prior to admission.” The resident experienced “increased confusion, was alert to self only, lacked a short- and long-term memory, and had poor judgment and insight.”
The surveyor interviewed the facility’s Director Nursing on the afternoon of March 30, 2017, who reviewed “the Interim Care Plans for the initial and readmissions and verified that they did not address the resident’s [current medical condition] or behavioral history.” The Director stated that “it should have been reflected in these Care Plans because we have documentation on admission of [the resident’s medical condition] and behaviors.”
- Failure to Provide Adequate Treatment to Prevent the Development of a New Bedsore or Allow Existing Bedsore to Yield
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, the surveyor documented the facility’s failure “to ensure that one [resident] reviewed for pressure ulcers received the necessary treatment and services to prevent new ulcers from developing.” Documentation revealed that the resident was “not provided with pressure relief boots as ordered.”
The state surveyor reviewed the physician’s orders that stated that “air mattress [is] to be ordered. Provolone boots to be worn at all times.” Observations made of the resident on the afternoon March 27, 2017, March 28, 2017, and the late morning hours of March 29, 2017, and March 30, 2017, revealed that the resident “did have a functioning air mattress, but did not have any type of boots in place.”
The surveyor interviewed the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) on the morning March 30, 2017, who was asked: “if [the resident] had any special boots that were supposed to be worn.” The CNA replied that they “were not aware that [the resident] was supposed to wear boots [and] verified that there were no boots in place at the time of the interview.”
During an interview with the facility’s Director of Nursing, a review of the resident’s Printed Profile revealed a March 3, 2017 “order with the description: the patient on air loss mattress related to sacral Stage III pressure ulcer, and provolone boots to be worn as tolerated.” The Director verified that there were no entries concerning provolone boots in the resident’s TAR Treatment Administration Record.
- Failure to Ensure Residents with Impaired Range of Motion Get Proper Treatment and Services to Increase Their Range Of Motion
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, investigators noted that the facility had failed to “ensure that one [resident] reviewed for Range of Motion received services. “Staff failed to apply bilateral upper extremity resting hand splints as ordered for [the resident].”
- Failure to Ensure That the Nursing Home Is Free from Accident Hazards
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated March 31, 2017, surveyors noted that the facility had failed to “provide adequate supervision to prevent accidents for [a resident]. The facility failed to implement interventions and provide supervision for [a resident] following an occurrence of smoking.
The resident’s March 24, 2017, Nurses Notes indicated that the resident was sitting by their “bed in a wheelchair with [their] dinner tray on the bed. The Certified Nurses’ Assistant noticed a soda can with ashes on the tray and notified the nurse. The nurse observed the soda can with ashes, appearing to be cigarette ashes, on the top of the can.” The resident stated, ‘I don’t know how it got there.’”
Abuse or Mistreated in a South Carolina Nursing Facility?
Any form of abuse, neglect or mistreatment in a nursing facility by the caregivers, visitors, employees, and other residents can lead to serious physical, emotional, mental and sexual harm. If you, or your loved one, were injured while residing at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center or any other South Carolina skilled nursing facility, considered filing a compensation claim to recover your monetary damages.
Like all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits, filing a compensation claim for nursing home abuse and neglect can be complex. However, an attorney working on your behalf can ensure that all the legal documents are filed before the South Carolina statute of limitations has expired. Your attorney will likely provide legal services through a contingency fee agreement, meaning no upfront fees are required.
Learn more about the laws and regulations applicable to South Carolina nursing homes here.