A nursing home run by the State of Montana has paid $277,000 in penalties due to not meeting new federal requirements. The home serves seniors with mental illnesses.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid discovered that the care center in Lewiston, Montana has failed to protect residents from verbal, physical and sexual abuse from other dementia patients. The investigation found that in at least 13 reported cases of abuse the nursing home administration had not been properly notified.
The penalties come as a surprise after the facility had been rated as one of the best in the country for the past two years. It is now rated below average after the recent investigation by the federal government.
Unfortunately for Montana residents, it is the only nursing care home of its kind in the state that serves individuals with advanced mental conditions and offers long-term care options.
State officials claim that a major reason for the downgrade in rating is due to changes in federal requirements, and that the nursing home administration will be able to meet federal guidelines.
However, the accusations levelled at the facility are severe and not easy to fix. More will need to be done than simply meeting federal guidelines. Patients who have suffered abuse from other dementia patients will have to receive better treatment and protection from other patients.
The requirements more broadly define abuse and neglect, and better defines the rights of residents in care homes.
If the facility fails to comply with the new regulations, Medicare and Medicaid funding will be pulled from the facility.
Allowing abuse and neglect is unacceptable in a care home facility, but Montanans with older family members with special mental needs will be hoping that the one of a kind facility shapes up and becomes a top facility once again.
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