Over the last three years, Texas leads the nation for financial penalties at nursing homes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at 249 fines, and it isn’t close. Second place is California with only 139 fines over the same period, even though California has more nursing home residents.
CMS is constantly evaluating the 15,000 nursing homes around the country, keeping detailed reports that keep track of everything from bed sore frequency to sexual assault. Thanks to an interactive map and search engine from ProPublica‘s Nursing Home Inspect, Texas’ nursing home struggles are on full display. Emerald Hills Rehabilitation And Healthcare Center in North Richland Hills has been fined $1.25 million over the last three years by CMS, the third most in the country.
In 2017 at Emerald Hills, a report reads that the facility failed to ensure four residents were free from abuse, including sexual assault by a certified nursing assistant. It details forensic testing of a resident that revealed vaginal tearing, a resident being fearful of the CNA, and another resident who had to see psychologist after the alleged abuse. That CNA was arrested at the airport trying to leave the country, but an administrative error allowed the CNA to make bond and eventually leave the country. In another incident, a nurse found a used condom in the bed under a resident, and another rape kit was done. The 118-bed facility is the only Texas nursing home in the top 20 for fines in Texas. The most recent report for Emerald Hills gave the home says there was no actual harm, though potential still exists.
In another Fort Worth suburb, Benbrook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is dubiously tied for 13th in the country for the number of serious deficiencies over the last three years, with 12. Texas has five nursing homes on the list of top 20 list of serious deficiencies. A 2017 reports describes medications being given to the wrong patient which resulted in a trip to the Intensive Care Unit. The most recent report gives a much better grade and says there is no actual harm and that deficiencies are isolated, and not part of a pattern.
CMS evaluates nursing home facilities on a scale of A (not serious) to L (immediate jeopardy to resident health or safety), and Nursing Home Inspect allows users to search by location, violation, or both. One can access several reports for each nursing home in the system.
The Lone Star state finds itself near the top of nearly every negative category measured by the search engine. We are fourth in the country with nearly one serious violations per nursing home statewide, though the states nursing homes are just above average in terms of the average fine, at $39,000.
The detailed reports are numerous, and the ones describing abuse and neglect can be especially hard to read. ProPublica provided a tip sheet to guide your searching. A few important notes:
- The reports are just a snapshot, and not necessarily a comprehensive look at the home.
- Because reports are written differently, use multiple terms to get a complete look (i.e. sexual assault, rape)
- Terminate and suspend will find employees who were disciplined for actions
- Almost all nursing homes have been cited for some deficiencies
- The tool will yield different results than CMS’ search function, because they search different time periods.