Nursing home to lose state, federal funds

Threats to patients' health alleged at Lorien facility

November 20, 1999|By Walter F. Roche Jr. | Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF

Noting continuing deficiencies, some posing a threat to patients' health, state and federal officials have moved to cut off a Baltimore nursing home from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Carol Benner, a state health department administrator, said yesterday that the termination would become effective Dec. 4 for the 238-bed Lorien Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 5009 Frankford Ave.

On that date, state and federal funding for any new patients will end. The funding will terminate for current patients on Jan. 3, Benner said.

Though state officials said they would attempt to avoid it, the termination could lead to closure of the nursing home and transfer of the patients to other facilities.

Officials of the nursing home, which is owned by Nicholas Mangione, did not respond yesterday to a request for comment.

Benner, who heads the health department's division of licensing and certification, said state inspectors began to focus on the facility after a complaint was filed in April. A subsequent inspection showed the care provided to four patients could have endangered their health.

In one of those cases, she said, officials of the home failed to launch an abuse investigation after a patient was found with extensive bruising. In another case, a laboratory test on a critically ill patient was delayed for several days. Benner said test results were sent to the patient's doctor nine hours after the patient died.

Benner said state officials will meet with the nursing home operators as the December deadline approaches to negotiate an agreement that would allow the home to remain open. She said such an agreement would likely include requirements for increased staffing and a stepped-up program to monitor the quality of care.

Maryland was one of a handful of states cited by federal auditors this year for failing to adequately respond to nursing home complaints. Benner said the volume of complaints handled by her agency has quadrupled since the report was made public.

In response to the critical report, the legislature approved hiring 20 inspectors this year, but only four of the slots have been filled, Benner said.

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