Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lebanon Home Cited For Causing Actual Harm

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A Lebanon, Tenn. nursing home has been cited by state inspectors for causing actual harm to several patients due to the improper care of pressure sores.
In a 50-page report posted recently on the Tennessee Health Department website, the Lebanon Health and Rehabilitation Center was also cited for failing to administer drugs prescribed by a physician and for failing to update care plans for some patients.
Daniel Richmond, acting administrator at the 60-bed facility said that subsequent to the inspection on March 31, the nursing home developed and implemented a corrective action plan.
He said state inspectors later revisited the home and approved the plan of correction.
According to the inspection report a female patient who already had pressure sores had them worsen while she was a patient. That same patient, inspectors found, did not receive her prescribed medications on four days in August and September of 2014.
Two other patients, according to the report, got pressure sores after they had been admitted and "suffered actual harm" as a result.
Yet another patient did not get needed treatment for pressure sores which worsened as a result.
The nursing home, which is located at 731 Castle Heights Court in Lebanon has an overall rating of 2 out of five stars under the federal Medicare rating system, nursing home compare. A "2" rating is classified as "below average."
In the individual category of quality of care, the home got a 1 star rating, which is listed as "much below average.
The home is part of the Sava SeniorCare nursing home chain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Drug Giant Charged With Illegally Blocking Generic Cancer Drug

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Two labor affiliated organizations have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. charging Novartis Pharmaceuticals with illegally blocking the entry of  a cheaper generic cancer drug in order to increase its revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the 89-page complaint filed this week, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Midwest Health Benefits Fund charges that Novartis "illegally extracted an additional seven months of exclusivity from generic maker Sun Pharma."
According to the complaint, Novartis' patent on Gleevec is due to expire on July 4, but under a settlement agreement between the two firms, the exclusivity will extend to February of next year.
The suit states that Gleevec "radically improves the lives of patients suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia."
But the monthly cost for a patient is $9,000 and the drug has generated $13.5 billion in revenues in the United States alone.
Novartis officials called the claims unsubstantiated and promised a vigorous defense against the suit.
"The patents covering Gleevec remain legally in force and are covered by a statutory presumption of validity. The patents are clearly directed to our marketed product and are properly listed in the FDA’s Orange Book and the settlement with Sun is a lawful settlement agreement resolving the declaratory judgement action filed by Sun challenging the validity of one of the Gleevec patents," the company said in a statement.
Filed for the food workers and the Laborers Health and Welfare Trust Fund for Northern California, the class action suit charges that Novartis first made  illegal add-on amendments to its existing filings for Gleevec with the U.S. Food and Drug administration and then used that filing to sue Sun Pharma charging it with infringing on its patent.
The suit was settled in May of last year with the agreement that Sun Pharma would delay its introduction of the generic form of the cancer drug until February 2016.
"But for the anticompetitive, illegal and ongoing conduct alleged in this complaint, plaintiff and members of the class would begin paying less for their imatinib mesylate as of July 5," the suit states, adding that the resulting overcharges could potentially total hundreds of millions of dollars."
Filing the suit were Massachusetts attorneys Thomas Sobol and Kristen Johnson.
They are asking the court to invalidate the May 14 settlement between Novartis and Sun Pharma.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Nursing Home Residents Reeked of Urine, Inspection States

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Residents at a Nashville nursing home were left lying in urine soaked clothing due to understaffing and multiple other problems at the 124 bed facility, according to a blistering 55-page report.
Seven instances of abuse and neglect were reported between April 1 and Mid-May, state officials reported.
The inspection report, based on a May 19 to May 22 visit to the Donelson Place Care and Rehabilitation Center, comes as federal officials have served notice that the home's participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs will be terminated effective at the end of this month.
The report by state Health Department inspection staffers also cites multiple violations of rules governing patient discharges.
In one case a resident was improperly discharged following allegations that he sexually assaulted another resident.
Charges of rape, the report states, proved unfounded.
The inspection came following the issuance of a notice on May 12 by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services that the Donelson Place's participation in the two federal programs would be terminated effective July. The notice was published in a Nashville newspaper.
Earlier this week state Health Commissioner John Dreyhzehner announced that on June 4 he had imposed a freeze on new admissions to the nursing home.
The state inspectors found that needed incontinence care was not provided to five residents. They also found that one resident was placed in an environment that was "detrimental to his or her safety and welfare."
According to the report, there were multiple reports of patients being found with their bedding and clothing saturated with urine and feces. As the inspectors noted, new cases of neglect and abuse occurred even as the facility was supposed to be implementing a corrective action plan for the same violations in the past.
The new violations were reported by other staff members and relatives of the patients.
When one patient was lifted from the bed, urine dripped from the patient's pants, the report states. A visitor reported that her mother was "extremely saturated with urine."
Another relative complained that a patient "reeked of urine two days in a row."
In another case cited, a patient "yelled all night" seeking assistance.
Some staffers were terminated or suspended, the report states, as a result of the neglect.
The inspectors also found that the number of staffers was insufficient
Several cases were cited in which patients were discharged without being informed of their rights. One patient ended up in a motel with no provision for providing needed care.
Another involved a patient who had been accused of kissing another patient, who eventually charged that she was nearly raped.
The alleged offender was forced to leave the facility, but the inspectors found that it was not done properly.
Donelson Place is owned by the Kentucky based Signature Healthcare corporation.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Admissions Frozen At Nashville Nursing Home, Closing Likely

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

New admissions have been barred at a 124-bed Nashville nursing home, with a long history of citations for violations of state and federal requirements and a closing may be imminent.
The freeze, which went into effect June 4, was made public today by state Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. A $3,001 fine was also imposed on the Donelson Place Care and Rehabilitation Center which is owned by Signature Healthcare, a Kentucky based nursing home chain.
Though the announcement contained no details on the reasons for the action, state health inspection records show numerous citations over the past year with the latest available issued in March.
Although the announcement made no mention of patient transfers, some residents at the nursing home have been told they must find a new residence within 30 days. The 30 day notice is a signal that federal funding is about to be cutoff forcing a closure.
In the March report inspectors cited the home for subjecting a patient to verbal abuse.
Inspectors also found that a patient who needed toileting assistance was told by an aide that she only could respond to emergencies.
"I'm very busy right now. We only take emergencies," the patient was told.
Federal records show that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a termination notice to Donnelson Place late last year. The notice was rescinded, however, early this year.
The state also announced it was appointing a special monitor to oversee operations of the care home.