Two East TN nursing homes among hundreds in Senate report with "persistent record of poor care"

Stephanie Haines # State

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Federal inspectors have flagged two East Tennessee nursing homes as having "persistent record of poor care."

Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center is in West Knoxville and Asbury Place is in Maryville, and they are the two of nearly 400 named in a Senate report that came out this week.

The report said the list was originally kept secret until the Senators made it public.

Two East Tennessee nursing homes made a list of about four hundred facilities nationwide that concern federal workers.

Both of them caught the state's attention last year--fining them thousands of dollar and preventing them from accepting new patients.

Last July, the Tennessee Department of Health inspected Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center and found a resident fell while a worker was changing the bed linens.

A spokesperson for Westmoreland provided 10News with this statement.

"Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center is committed to providing the best possible care to our residents and rehab patients. Our strong care team ensures that quality care is given in a professional and safe environment that promotes dignity, respect and independence, and through continual staff training and increased clinical services, we strive for consistent quality improvement.

The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) maintains oversight to every health care facility in the U.S. State and Federal clinical surveyors perform unscheduled annual and intermittent surveys. One of the CMS’ oversight programs is the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program which has been in place for many years with the goal of promoting and ensuring high quality care for residents.

Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center is not a CMS Special Focus Facility at this time, and may never become a SFF. The facility is, however, on a consideration list due to a single incident that occurred in 2017, which was quickly corrected, and not due to ongoing and recurring issues. Since the time of this incident’s occurrence, we have had not only a very comprehensive annual survey with only low level deficiencies, but other visits by state surveyors, all of which found we are in compliance with CMS’ standards."

Last September, state inspectors found Asbury Place in Maryville had violated standards for administration and basic services during a complaint survey.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health says both facilities are currently in good standing.

In response to the federal report, a spokesperson for Asbury Place told 10News the following:

"Asbury Place Maryville has served seniors for more than 60 years and our primary concern continues to be the safety and well-being of those who live, work, and receive care at our community. This Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services list is based on standard surveys spanning 2016 to August 2018. Since that time, state surveyors have visited our Health Care Center on multiple occasions and we continue to maintain compliance with CMS’ Medicare conditions of participation.

We have been hard at work improving our care and services, and ensuring that we have committed leaders and staff who are dedicated to the residents we serve. We remain focused on continually improving the level of care we provide and are proud of the extraordinary work being done at our community."

The CDC said there are about 1.5 million licensed beds in about 15,000 nursing homes in the country.

You can look up each one on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website and see their reviews about health inspections, staffing levels and other quality measures.

Experts said when you are looking for a place for your loved one, you should really do your own investigating.

"If you're going in for a tour of the facility, you'll probably see a family member there and just tell the staff, do you mind, I'd like to go ask her a question, and just say, how do you feel about this place that your parent or your friend is living in?"
said Susan Long, the CAC director of the Office on Aging.

A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid said it's rare the agency takes away funding from a nursing home.