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Woodbriar residents in 'immediate jeopardy,' say Mass. regulators

March 25, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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State regulators say residents at Woodbriar Health Center are in "immediate jeopardy." They have ordered the facility to take immediate actions "to prevent further harm to residents" after determining substandard care has resulted in a second resident death.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has ordered the Wilmington., Mass., nursing home stop accepting new residents. The state agency recommended federally imposed fines between $3,050 and $10,000 a day until problems are corrected and the facility be terminated from Medicaid and Medicare if conditions do not substantially improve by April 14.

Related: Woodbriar’s plan to address resident death unacceptable, say Mass. state regulators

State regulators made a surprise visit to Woodbriar Monday as part of an investigation into another resident death, The Boston Globe reports. On Christmas Day, a 21-year-old nursing assistant used a mechanical lift without assistance to move Mary Meuse, 83, from her bed to wheelchair. Meuse fell and broke bones below both knees. Her injuries were not immediately reported, and Meuse died two days later from internal bleeding.

Related: Nursing home resident dies after improper mechanical chair transfer

During the course of their inspection, investigators learned a resident fell out of bed at about 9 p.m. Feb. 8 with no obvious injuries. Nursing home workers helped the resident back to bed and contacted a physician who ordered resident checks every two hours until the next morning then checks every four hours. The resident was found dead in bed by 5:30 a.m. with no record the checks, according to the state’s letter to Woodbriar.

“There was no evidence to indicate that following the fall, the facility’s policies and procedures regarding neurological checks were reviewed, and that all staff were trained on assessing and documenting a resident’s status following a fall,” the letter states.

Another frail resident who was required assisted when walking fell and dislocated a hip Feb. 6. Nursing home staff saw the resident walk but didn’t know need assistant because medical records were not up to date, according to the letter.

Woodbriar is owned by Synergy Health Centers, a New Jersey based-company that owns 10 other nursing homes in the state and is licensed to care for more than 1,200 residents. Reports of substandard care have surfaced along with citations by state inspectors.

Related: Scabies present at Synergy Health Center nursing home

A Synergy spokesman said in a statement the company will appeal the state’s latest findings while working with state and federal regulators to resolve the problems.

Related: Complaints about 11 Mass. nursing homes