Community Struggles to Get Answers About Nursing Home Closure
Sunshine Haven, a small nursing home in southern New Mexico (Lordsburg) is scheduled to close by August 3, 2019. The only nursing home in the community houses 37 residents, according to the Healthcare Compare website, who will need to find new housing and care before the facility shuts down.
However, members of the community are struggling to get answers to questions about the closure of the facility. Officials posted about the closure on Facebook last week and released a statement on the facility’s website on May 31. Unfortunately, the Facebook post has been deleted.
Meeting with Lieutenant Governor Results in Confrontation
Last Monday, Lt. Governor Howie Morales and Lordsburg Mayor Robert Barrera visited Sunshine Haven met with Lea Kenney, an administrator of the nursing home’s parent company, Preferred Care Partners Management Group (PCPMG). Morales acknowledged that the closing of the facility and elimination of 80 jobs would have a tremendous impact on the community, which is a rural area.
Morales said the meeting was going well until Jason Watkins, a reporter for the Hidalgo County Herald, walked in and asked about the plan for relocating patients. The reporter was quickly evicted from the room, as the facility’s administrators claimed his presence would be violating HIPAA patient privacy.
“They indicated it was a HIPAA violation and it’s not,” Morales said. “There was no HIPAA violation there, but it was clear they were uncomfortable. I didn’t want to make anyone more uncomfortable, so we left.”
Watkins filmed the encounter on his mobile phone. The video captures Barrera telling the employee that people are worried and scared for the residents who will have to leave their hometown and for the jobs that people will lose.
Morales waited by the door after the confrontation, but he and Barrera were not invited back inside. Morales also said he has not been in contact with the nursing home since this happened.
Financial and Legal Trouble for Preferred Care
Preferred Care and its subsidiaries have recently fallen into financial and legal trouble and bankruptcies have been filed. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) fined the Lordsburg nursing home $44,990 in 2016 and $26,390 last year for numerous deficiencies, including lack of completing basic tasks like feeding the residents. The agency also alleged that the nursing home has neglected dental, eye and other medical care. An ongoing lawsuit against the Lordsburg facility filed by New Mexico’s Attorney General alleges there was insufficient staff levels, which led to poor care.
Is Your Loved One Facing Nursing Home Abuse?
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