May 16, 2014

Home Health Care Agency Surrenders License

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A Southington home health care agency has voluntarily surrendered its license to operate rather than contest dozens of violations found by state inspectors, including the use of unqualified employees and failures to follow doctor’s orders.

Huemanity Home Care of Connecticut, which operated in the Milldale section of town, denied the allegations found by state Department of Public Health inspectors in August and September, but one of its representatives, W. Bruce Staebler, signed an agreement April 24 to cease operations to “avoid the expense and risk of a contested hearing.’’

The inspectors outlined the multiple violations in 65-page report. The violations include cases in which home health aides failed to document proper wound care or did not report a patient’s elevated blood pressure to a doctor, records show.

In other cases, the agency failed to report to doctors that a patient’s pain had increased or that a patient had developed a blister or aides failed to properly track signs of infection, records show.

In the case of one patient with dementia, the agency failed to document the medications that were taken during nursing visits over nine months, records show.

Records show the agency failed to employ a primary care nurse for 21 months between 2011 and 2013. DPH records show the agency failed to provide a registered nurse to supervise aides every 14 days, as required by federal regulations.

In other cases, aides did not accurately assess whether patients were at risk of falling. In one case, an aide wrongly told a patient to hold onto furniture and walls to avoid falling when he or she was dizzy, records show.

Doctor’s orders are supposed to be signed within 21 days, but inspectors found that Huemanity had a case of a doctor’s order signed after 155 days, records show. In another case, a doctor’s orders were faxed to the agency in August, three months after a lung cancer patient had ended care with Huemanity, records show.

Inspectors also found a case in which a patient did not receive home health care until 15 days after leaving a hospital, even though Huemanity had accepted the referral, records show.

The agency also sent aides to homes even though a doctor had not certified that the aides were free of communicable diseases, records show.

Staebler could not be reached for comment.

In an unrelated action, a registered homemaker companion agency in Avon was found by DPH to be providing care that went beyond the scope of its license, records show.

Martin Santulli Jr., the owner of Transitions of Connecticut, agreed in an April 17 consent order to contract with a licensed home health care agency and provide 24-hour nursing care for residents until they could be moved to another facility, records show.

In some cases, the agency was providing care at the level of a residential care home, and in others, it was providing care that reached the nursing home level of care, DPH spokesman William Gerrish said.

Santulli could not be reached for comment.

 

 

 

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