More than three months after a Springfield nursing home closed with little warning, many families and former patients of Oak Terrace Healthcare Center are waiting for refunds and wondering why they were put through such stress.
Oak Terrace’s two most recent administrators blame Home Life Companies, the Delaware, Ohio-based business whose top officials made all the key decisions involving Oak Terrace, for what they say was the company’s greed, ignorance and lack of vision.
“The residents — they didn’t have any interest in them except as a source of revenue,” former Oak Terrace administrator Tom Mullins told The State Journal-Register.′
Mullins, 71, an Oreana resident and longtime Illinois nursing home administrator, said Oak Terrace never paid him the $6,559 he was owed for his 17 days of work in August and September.
Before 2017 comes to a close, we’re revisiting some of the notable news stories of the year. You might remember back in September, Hurricane Irma struck Florida, knocking out power for millions across the state.
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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: For some, it could be a matter of life or death. Six people at a nursing home in Broward County, Fla., have died after their facility lost power during the storm. Authorities say three residents were found dead at the rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills.
FRAYER: In all, 14 nursing home residents died, most after they were evacuated to a nearby hospital. Twelve of those deaths have been ruled homicides. NPR’s Greg Allen joins us now from Miami to update us on this story and the criminal investigation that has followed. Hi, Greg.
Anita Willis says the social worker offered her a painful choice: She could either leave the San Jose, Calif., nursing home where she’d spent a month recovering from a stroke — or come up with $336 a day to stay on.
She had until midnight to decide.
Willis’ Medicaid managed-care plan had told the home that it was cutting off payment because she no longer qualified for such a high level of care. If Willis, 58, stayed and paid the daily rate, her Social Security disability money would run out in three days. But if she left, she had nowhere to go. She’d recently become homeless after a breakup and said she couldn’t even afford a room-and-board setting.
A central Illinois jury has awarded $5.2 million to a nurse who claims she was fired from a nursing home after reporting alleged abuse.
The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports Katrina Wesemann worked as a licensed practical nurse at a Dwight facility in 2012 when she was fired. She alleges she was let go because she wouldn’t follow a director’s orders to increase dosages of anti-anxiety medication to agitated residents and refused to change or omit records of suspicious injuries.
The woman allegedly stole between $5k – $50k from an elderly person at a North Aurora long-term care facility.
By Caitlin Ketel,
AURORA, IL — A Joliet woman accused of taking money from an elderly victim at a North Aurora long-term care facility was arrested by Illinois State Police Wednesday. Mary E. Pfingston, also known as Mary McMillan, 41, was indicted Tuesday on charges of financial exploitation of the elderly, theft, and three counts of public contractor misconduct, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
According to prosecutors, between between February and April of 2015, Pfingston used her position of trust to steal between $5,000 and $50,000 from an elderly resident at the facilty.
Illinois State Police, who are still investigating the incident, said in a press release that Pfingston is a former employee of Senior Services Associates, a State of Illinois contractor. She served as a long-term care ombudsman for a patient who resided at a North Aurora assisted living facility.
URBANA — A Champaign man who denied touching an elderly woman with dementia at a Champaign care facility is headed to prison for as many as 60 years following a jury finding that he molested her.
A Champaign County jury took three hours to reject Dontrell Netter’s assertions that he never crossed the threshhold of the 90-year-old woman’s room at Bickford Cottage, 1002 S. Staley Road, in July 2015.
The jury convicted Netter, 24, whose last known local address was in the 2300 block of Southmoor Drive, of aggravated criminal sexual assault, attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual assault.
Lawsuit: Former Hearthstone Communities worker says she was fired after reporting abuse
By KATIE SMITH
WOODSTOCK – A lawsuit filed by a former Woodstock senior living center worker accuses the business of firing her for trying to report abuse disclosed by a patient.
Juana Walsh is suing Christian Living Communities and Hearthstone Communities for more than $75,000 in money damages and the reinstatement of her job.
The lawsuit, filed Nov. 30 in McHenry County court, comes exactly one year after Walsh was fired from her job at Hearthstone Communities, 920 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.
The suit names two employees – facility Administrator Joni K. Fisher and Director of Nursing Patricia A. Birks – who Walsh believes violated the Illinois Whistleblower and Nursing Home Care acts after firing her for reporting the abuse.
Nursing homes or assisted living facilities are often a transitional step for the elderly after they stop living independently at home but before they enter a skilled nursing facility. Although the number of nursing homes is booming, oversight of these facilities is very limited, and the regulations governing them vary state by state. This lack of uniformity is also evidence in how nursing homes are funded: 43 states, including Illinois, allow Medicaid funds to be used to pay for assisted living care, but the specific services that are funded vary across states. Facilities in the remaining states are entirely private pay, which often leads to facility management making decisions about resident acceptance and retention with an eye toward increasing income over improving resident care. Many corporate nursing homes use a system that assigns points to each resident to quantify the amount of care the resident requires based on individual assessments. Facilities can use these individual assessments to estimate how much daily staff time must be devoted to each resident and the aggregate amount of time needed for all residents on any given day. This point system can be used as evidence that a facility management knew their staffing was inadequate to meet the residents’ needs.
Residents of nursing homes and licensed assisted living homes have rights as persons worthy of dignity, respect and autonomy. These rights are guaranteed under federal and state laws. Educating yourself about these rights is the first step to protecting yourself or your loved one.
Every resident in long-term care has basic rights to self-determination and freedom of choice. A partial list of those rights are:
MOUNT MORRIS — Pinecrest Manor recently was named a Best Nursing Home for 2017-18 by the U.S. News & World Report.
To create the list, U.S. News drew on data from Nursing Home Compare, a program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes.
There were 73 nursing homes in Illinois labeled as “top performing.” U.S. News and World Report evaluated more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide to create the list, which represents about 15 percent of all nursing homes.