Nursing Homes Fined For Violations That Put Residents At Risk, Caused Harm

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined four nursing homes for violations that resulted in resident harm. Village Crest Center for Health and Rehabilitation in New Milford was fined $10,000 for two violations. On June 14, 2019, two residents were found by a dietary aide walking outside near the facility.  One of the two residents had fallen and was an elopement risk, but wasn’t identified as one in documentation, DPH said. As the residents were leaving the facility, a receptionist who saw them thought that one of the people in the foyer was a guest, signing the resident out, according to the DPH.

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 1, But You Can Window Shop Now

Open enrollment for 2020 health insurance plans begins Nov. 1, but consumers can already “window shop” among plans on the state’s health insurance exchange. On Access Health CT’s (AHCT) website, accesshealthct.com, the health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, consumers can browse and compare options. Individuals can begin enrolling Nov. 1, for coverage effective Jan.

State Suspends Two Nursing Licenses, Disciplines Four Others

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week suspended the licenses of two licensed practical nurses (LPN) and disciplined four other nurses. The LPN license of Melissa A. Eccles of Norwich was suspended last Wednesday pending a hearing for failing to respond to a court-ordered substance abuse evaluation. Eccles was initially ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in June 2018. When she failed to do so, the case went to court, and in July 2019 she was ordered to undergo the evaluation. In suspending her license prior to a hearing on her case, the state nursing board found that her continued practice as a nurse represents a “clear and immediate danger” to the public health and safety.

26 Hospitals Penalized By Medicare For High Readmission Rates

Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Statewide, 26 of the 29 hospitals evaluated – 90 percent – will have their reimbursements reduced, by varying amounts, in the 2020 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of data from CMS.

CMS began in the 2013 fiscal year to penalize hospitals that have high rates of patients who are readmitted within one month of being discharged. The penalties were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, intended to encourage better health care delivery. Nationwide, 2,583 hospitals will be penalized this year, according to Kaiser Health News.

Nursing Homes Fined Following Resident’s Death, Escapes, Falls

The state Department of Public Health has fined four nursing homes, including an Enfield facility where a resident died. Parkway Pavilion Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enfield was fined $10,000 for multiple violations. On March 20, a resident was found unresponsive, sitting upright with vomit on the face. The resident was pronounced dead by emergency services personnel 15 minutes later. Records show that CPR wasn’t initiated until five minutes after staff found the resident, and 911 was called one minute after that.

State Disciplines Nurses For Drug, Alcohol Abuse

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week disciplined four nurses for drug or alcohol abuse. The board placed the registered nurse (RN) license of Sara J. Smith of Shelton on probation for four years after it found she altered a 2018 prescription for codeine after testing positive for codeine on April 3, 2019, according to a consent order signed by Smith. During her probation Smith must undergo random drug tests, attend therapy and support meetings, and is prohibited from solo practice. The RN license of Nicole Loving of Colchester was placed on probation for three years after she admitted to abusing alcohol, according to her signed consent order. During probation Loving must submit to random drug tests, attend therapy and support meetings, and cannot practice in home care, pool nursing, or self-employment.

Nursing Homes Fined Following Residents’ Cocaine Use, Falls

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined three nursing homes for various violations, including a New Haven facility that was cited for cocaine use by residents. RegalCare at New Haven was fined $1,680 after four residents tested positive for cocaine. On April 30, 2018, a resident tested positive for cocaine after being seen handing a dollar bill with white powder on it to another resident, according to DPH. A physician’s order dated May 3 implemented several interventions, including room searches every day for three days, but the resident’s room was only searched May 4 and May 5. The resident who was handed the dollar bill with white powder on it, who had opioid dependence, tested positive for cocaine on May 1.

Med Board Places Two Doctors On Probation

The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to place two doctors on probation, including a pediatrician accused of excessive alcohol use. Dr. Christine Cornachio of Simsbury, the pediatrician, is required to submit to random urine testing and individual therapy with a licensed professional as part of a consent order approved by the board that will allow her to continue practicing at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center during the five-year probationary period. Cornachio came under investigation by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in June after the agency was notified by the Health Assistance Intervention Network, known as HAVEN, in accordance with state law. HAVEN helps medical professionals with mental health, medical and substance abuse problems. State statute requires HAVEN to report any licensed medical practitioner who did or could pose a harm to patients or declines services after being referred due to a mental health, medical or substance abuse problem. An investigation determined Cornachio utilized alcohol to excess on at least four occasions from 2014 to March 2019, the consent order said.

Coordinated Care Practices Help Keep HUSKY Members Out Of ERs

HUSKY members in a person-centered medical home (PCMH) practice are more likely to get recommended preventative health services and less likely to visit the emergency room, according to Department of Social Services (DSS) data. A PCMH is a medical practice that provides comprehensive and coordinated care. That can mean helping a child get an appointment with a behavioral health clinician; making sure a patient’s apartment is free of asthma triggers; and many other services hard to get in time-crunched primary care offices. Medical homes must also provide a high level of accessibility through measures like extended hours, electronic or telephone access or rapid appointment scheduling. The state instituted HUSKY PCMHs in 2012 with an eye toward improving care for patients with chronic conditions, according to Kate McEvoy, director of the Division of Health Services at DSS.

Whites Living In Midsize Cities Report Poor Health Compared To Counterparts In Urban Centers, Survey Shows

In West Haven, 24% of white residents reported their health as fair or poor, a rate worse than whites statewide and in New Haven. Fifty miles east, 19% of white New London residents reported feeling depressed or hopeless, higher numbers than statewide and in Bridgeport. And 39% of white New Britain residents reported that financially, they were just getting by or were worse off. That’s higher than in Hartford and statewide. A C-HIT analysis of the results from the recent DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey found that residents in a number of midsize, blue-collar cities reported lower health ratings than residents of the state’s largest cities.