Health Department Will Close Bronx Nursing Home Unless It Comes Into Compliance

University Nursing Home in the Bronx to Close August 8, 2000

Albany, July 28, 2000 – The New York State Health Department today announced that the University Nursing Home in the Bronx will be closed on August 8, 2000, unless it can come into compliance with State and federal statutes and regulations. The nursing home has been given a two–day notice, which will be made public in newspapers today by the federal Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), that states the facility continues to be out of compliance with nursing home standards.

"It is imperative that nursing homes have policies and protocols in place to provide assurances that residents are safe and are receiving appropriate care," State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr. P.H. said. "If we find that a nursing home is not meeting the standards necessary to provide proper care and a safe environment, then the Health Department will step in and take swift and appropriate action to rectify the situation. University Nursing Home is a repeat offender as it relates to compliance with nursing home standards and that's unacceptable."

On July 22, it was reported that an elderly woman wandered out of the facility and could not immediately be found. The same woman, who has has a history impaired judgement, has a history of leaving the facility as well and had done so five times before. Within 48 hours of the incident, the Department conducted a thorough investigation of the case. Consistent with deficiencies previously identified by the Department at the facility, the nursing home was required to have a plan to monitor the women, which may include a wander guard system to ensure that she wouldn't leave the facility again. The plan failed. The failure of this plan posed an immediate jeopardy to the safety of all of the residents.

The University Nursing Home, which houses 46 residents, must be in total compliance with State and federal regulations by August 8 or the facility will no longer be reimbursed for the care of Medicaid and Medicare eligible residents. A fact that will result in, ultimately, the closure of the facility. The nursing home had previously been cited for numerous deficiencies resulting from a complaint investigation conducted by the Department on June 2, 2000. As a result of the inspection, the nursing home was fined and was notified that the facility was being placed on immediate jeopardy.

"We are waiting for this facility to correct this perpetual problem. We want to see constructive results and actions that will ensure that the residents are safe and properly cared for," Dr. Novello said. "Unless we see immediate and significant improvements at University Nursing Home, they will be shut down and the residents will be moved, consistent with a discharge plan, and they will be placed in facilities that will provide better care and a safer environment."

7/28/00–91 OPA