State Acts to Protect Nursing Home Residents
Albany, January 9, 1996 -- State Health Commissioner Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., said today that she will keep her staff of clinical experts in Westfall Healthcare Center to monitor patient care and safety while a criminal investigation continues into the assault on a comatose woman who was impregnated while a resident at the Center.
We will have investigators who are experts in patient care at this center every day on various shifts so that we can ensure that residents are safe and receiving high-quality care, Dr. DeBuono said.
We will assure that the home takes appropriate safeguards and has adequate staff. Westfall Healthcare Center is located in the Town of Brighton in Monroe County.
While Westfall officials acted in accordance with State law in reporting the assault to the State Health Department as soon as it was discovered, Dr. DeBuono said she and her staff had been monitoring the facility's quality of care and quality of life for its residents.
Dr. DeBuono has ordered the nursing home to identify in writing how it plans to correct problems identified during a State Health Department inspection in December 1995. The inspectors found cases of residents with bedsores, other residents who were not properly bathed or dressed, as well as unsanitary conditions in the home. The plan, due Thursday, must incorporate Dr. DeBuono's directive that a consultant be brought into the facility to improve nursing care practices and procedures and address all deficiencies.
In addition, Dr. DeBuono has recommended to the federal government that Medicare and Medicaid funding be denied to Westfall for new residents. Under federal regulations, the home will have 15 days after federal notification to demonstrate improvements to the State Health Department.
If improvements are not made to my satisfaction, I will seek additional federal and State penalties, which could jeopardize future taxpayer funding for this home, Dr. DeBuono said. The home has the right to appeal State and federal sanctions.
1/9/96-3 OPAContact: Claudia Hutton, Director, Public Affairs (518) 474-7354
New York State Department of Health Posted: January 23, 1996