Whetstone Gardens and Care Center – Inspection Results, Penalties, and Inclusion in Senate Report on Poorly-Performing Nursing Homes
Rating from the Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare Website
Whetstone Gardens and Care Center (https://www.macintoshcompany.com/whetstone/) (“Whetstone Gardens”) is a skilled nursing and assisted living center located at 3700 Olentangy River Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43214. As of June 29, 2019, Whetstone Gardens had an overall rating of two stars out of a possible 5 stars on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website.* A two star rating means that the nursing home is considered “below average” in comparison to other nursing homes. This facility was also included in the April, 2019 federal government list of poorly performing nursing homes known as “Special Focus Facility candidates.”* These details are provided below.
The Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare Website
The United States government has developed a website that allows users to see information on individual nursing homes regarding inspections, violations and deficiencies, which is located at https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare. Information provided in the Nursing Home Compare website includes detailed information about inspections, facility deficiencies, staffing, penalties, bed certification, and much more. This website is run by Medicare, and was created so that users and families can easily compare different nursing homes based upon the same set of standards.
Nursing homes are required to provide care to residents that follows or complies with federal regulations. The periodic inspections of nursing homes are designed to determine if they are following the regulations and therefore giving good care. If they violate the regulations, they are issued a citation and sometimes a monetary fine.
In June, 2019, a US Senate report (the “Senate Report”) was issued by US Senators Casey and Toomey entitled Families’ and Residents’ Right to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes. This report concerns, in large part, the public identification of Medicare/Medicaid Special Focus Facility participants and candidates. As of April, 2019, Whetstone Gardens was considered a Special Focus Facility candidate due to the poor care it was providing its residents.* This is very important information to families who have had a loved one at this nursing home and they had suspicions of abuse or neglect or for families considering this home for their family member.
The Special Focus Facilities Program
The Special Focus Facility (“SFF”) program was created in connection with the adoption of The Nursing Home Act, which established nursing facility participation requirements under Medicare and Medicaid. These nursing homes are at risk to causing harm to residents due to their failure to follow the regulations. As cited in the Senate Report, “[t]he SFF program is designed to increase oversight of facilities that persistently underperform in required inspections conducted by state survey agencies.” When a nursing home does not comply with the regulations that govern care in nursing homes, then they get cited. If they receive a lot of citations over a period of time, then the government may place them into the SFF program.
SFF nursing homes are subject to increasing inspections (at least one every six months), escalating fines, and the possibility of losing Medicare and Medicaid funding if improvements are not made. As of April, 2019, approximately 80 facilities were included in the SFF program.
Special Focus Facility Candidates
In addition to the facilities named to the SFF program, the government has created an additional list of approximately 400 nursing homes considered to be poorly-performing based upon past inspections. These facilities are considered “Special Focus Facility candidates” because of the possibility that may be named to the Special Focus Facility program if their operations do not improve.
Previously, while the names of SFF’s were publicly disclosed, the names of the Special Focus Facility candidates – those nursing facilities in danger of being included in the SFF – were not publicly disclosed. Believing that the public should know the names of all these underperforming nursing homes, Senators Casey and Toomey made a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (the “CMS”) for the names of the SFF candidates, and the government complied with this request. The senators then released their report in June, 2019, which includes the names of those in the SFF program and those considered Special Focus Facility candidates as of April, 2019. *
Whetstone Gardens Penalties
The nursing home has recently been the subject of a penalty as the result of one or more deficiencies found in inspections. According to the Nursing Home Compare website, Whetstone was assessed a penalty of $98,756 on April 10, 2017.
Recent Health Inspection Reports on the Medicare.gov Website for Whetstone Gardens
As shown in the charts below, recent inspections have revealed a number of significant and serious issues involving the care provided to nursing home residents which resulted in actual harm and/or presenting an immediate risk of resident health or safety.
This is unacceptable. We should not allow nursing homes to abuse and neglect our seniors by not following regulations.
As of June 27, 2019, the following information was reported on the Nursing Home Compare website for Whetstone Gardens:
The full report concerning the June 7, 2018 inspection can be seen here. The results of complaint inspections occurring during 2018 can be seen by clicking on the inspection date:
Seeking Justice for Abused and Neglected Nursing Home Residents
As a former nurse, and as a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney for over 30 years, my practice is focused on seeking compensation and justice for those who have been injured in nursing homes, and for those who have died, due to abuse, negligence, and neglect. The matters include falls, bed sores and pressure ulcers, choking, strangulation, physical and sexual abuse, sepsis and infections caused by neglect, bed rail strangulation, contracture, and a wide variety of other injuries.
From my practice, I know that most negligence and abuse are the result of poor choices by nursing home owners that often involve understaffing, lack of training and oversight, and cost-cutting measures. When these issues are present, injury and even preventable death are not unexpected – in fact, they are completely foreseeable.
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* The information presented herein is accurate as of June 10, 2019, unless a different date is noted. The federal government has the sole authority to add or remove facilities included in the Special Focus Facility program and those facilities designated as Special Focus Facility candidates. If improvements are made, nursing homes can receive a higher star rating from Medicare on the Medicare.gov website, and facilities named to the Special Focus Facility program or named to the Special Focus Facility candidate list can be removed from such program or list. Because this information will not be updated, readers are urged to consult the Medicare.gov website for a current facility star rating, and also to that website (or other relevant information) to determine the names of the facilities currently included in the Special Focus Facility program and those currently considered Special Focus Facility candidates.