State health officials have banned new admissions to the Autumn Gardens Nursing Home in West Baltimore after inspections last month allegedly found evidence of inadequate care and commingling residents' personal money with the home's operating accounts.
Nelson J. Sabatini, state secretary of health and mental hygiene, accused also Autumn Gardens, at 3313 Poplar St., of poor financial management and operating with 12 patients more than the 52 allowed in its license.
The state banned new admissions to the home June 23. It also moved to revoke the nursing home's state license July 30 and close it -- an action that co-owner Walter Dowe said he planned to appeal.
Mr. Dowe said he was "in the process of bringing in a new management team" for the home.
In a letter Wednesday to Mr. Dowe, Mr. Sabatini said the alleged violations represented "a threat to the health and safety of residents." The letter cited the following violations, found during inspections between June 8 and 12:
* "Seriously ill and debilitated patients" requiring extensive nursing care, and earning higher daily reimbursement rates from Medicaid, "were not properly cared for."
* Operating with 12 patients more than authorized. The 12 residents were relocated to other facilities, "potentially causing unnecessary trauma, confusion and disorientation."
* Nursing home staff had repeatedly not been paid, or their paychecks had bounced. "This has resulted in the continual exodus of nursing home staff," with replacements obtained from nursing agencies or from three other nursing homes disciplined by the health department recently for failures to meet state and federal regulations, Mr. Sabatini said.
* Residents' personal funds were not credited to their accounts. "Instead, they were placed in operating accounts of the facility. . . ."
Mr. Dowe said the allegations stemmed from delays in opening patients' bank accounts.
"We're not in the business of trying to cheat somebody out of $40 a month," he said.
He also said the nursing home had been inspected four times since opening in March, and "this is the first bad survey we've had."
Currently, the nursing home houses 50 patients, Mr. Dowe said.