Naples nursing home settles patient care violations; admissions moratorium lifted

Liz Freeman
Naples Daily News
Residents are evacuated from Heritage Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Evacuations were ordered for areas west of US 41, where the center is located.

A Naples nursing home that was cited this past spring for patient safety violations and had to halt admissions reached a settlement recently with state regulators.

Heritage Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, located at 777 9th St. N., paid $26,000 in fines and accepted a conditional license status, according to the Oct. 4 settlement with the state Agency for Healthcare Administration. The admissions moratorium was lifted.

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The 97-bed nursing home must hire a quality improvement company and work with the company for 18 months on its operations and internal practices, according to the settlement.

Another term of the deal requires the nursing home management to meet with state agency officials for one year to report progress in quality of care provided patients.

In turn, the state agreed to drop its plan to revoke the nursing home’s license, and the admissions moratorium imposed in April was lifted, according to the settlement.

Officials with Heritage, owned by NSPIRE Healthcare, based in Lauderhill, could not be reached for comment.

The prohibition on admissions followed inspections with findings of serious health to residents, according to state regulators.

In a 40-page report, inspectors detailed failures by staff to address pressure sores that seven patients developed, how physician orders were not properly followed, and the lack of documentation for patient care treatment.

Another patient had a left leg amputation in early February after being transferred to a hospital for untreated bed sores.

“The (nursing home) has failed, by its action or inaction, to meet the minimum care levels for residents as required by law, and said failures constitute intentional or negligent acts (that) materially affect the health or safety of its residents,” according to the complaint.

Shortly after the state’s action with Heritage and similar violations found at a Destin nursing home, AARP in Florida said the inspections validate how severe staffing shortages are harmful and will worsen under a new state law. AARP had lobbied against the law.

The state Legislature approved reducing how much time certified nursing assistants must spend with nursing home residents, from 2.5 hours a day to two hours a day.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law April 6 and the change went into effect immediately.

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The Florida Health Care Association, which represents the nursing home industry, supported the legislation, saying the change helps resolve staffing woes and modernizes outdated staffing requirements.

Staffing shortages have plagued long-term care facilities for years and became especially problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the association.