Nursing home faces Medicare loss

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2003

A Brookhaven nursing home is facing the loss of Medicare fundingand fines of $5,000 a day as it works to correct patient caredeficiencies found during a recent site survey, officials said.

CountryBrook Living Center, located on Brookman Drive, is inline to lose Medicare payments for its residents June 15, accordingto a public notice of termination of provider agreement. TheCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined the facilitydid not comply with requirements for participation.

“The deficiencies cited to the provider are of such a nature asto present an immediate or serious threat to the residents’ healthand safety,” the notice said.

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Joyce Lang, public relations officer the CMMS, said thedeficiencies were found during an annual state-conducted survey ofthe facility on May 23. She could not discuss specifics and saidthe report on the survey was not yet public record.

“It was related to quality of care and nursing services,” Langsaid.

Melody Chatelle, spokeswoman for CountryBrook, said thefacility’s staff strives to provide a safe and comfortableenvironment for residents.

“Nursing facility survey inspections are very thorough and coverall aspects of operating a facility,” Chatelle said in a preparedstatement. “While we do not always agree with the position taken bythe surveyors during these inspections, we take the results of ourmost recent inspection seriously. We have been working diligentlyto address the issues mentioned in the report.”

Once cited, facilities are given an opportunity to develop aplan of correction, Lang said. She said CountryBrook had submitteda plan.

“That’s what’s currently under review now,” Lang said.

If the plan is deemed acceptable, Lang said a follow-up surveywill be conducted to see that it is being implemented.

“The large majority of facilities that receive a citation likethis are able to correct the problems once they are identified,”Lang said.

Chatelle indicated optimism that the correction plan would beacceptable.

“We look forward to a resurvey in the very near future so thatthe matter can be resolved to the benefit of all parties,” shesaid.

Chatelle encouraged community members to visit the nursing hometo see for themselves the quality of care that is provided toresidents.

“We are proud to be a part of the Brookhaven community, and tohave the privilege of serving our residents on behalf of theirloved ones,” Chatelle said.

Lang said the nursing home is facing civil penalties of $5,000 aday until the “immediate jeopardy” to residents is determined tohave been lifted. She said the payment would made at a laterdate.

“Our first priority is the safety and health of residents in thenursing home,” Lang said.

If deficiencies are not addressed, Lang said CountryBrook wouldcontinue to receive Medicare payments for 30 days after June 15 inorder to give CountryBrook officials time to place residents inother nursing homes. The Medicare program will not make payment forinpatient skilled nursing services who are admitted after June 15,the public notice said.

Lang said the situation does not mean CountryBrook would have toshut its doors, but the Medicare payments would cease.

“For many facilities, that is a large part of their funding,”Lang said.