Meridian nursing home included in list of 'special focus facilities'

Whitney Downard / The Meridian Star

The Meridian Community Living Center is on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services list of special focus facilities and subject to possible increased inspections, fines and more.

A recent national report criticized the federal government for inconsistently identifying nursing homes with poor inspection records, leaving nearly 400 facilities off of the "special focus facilities" list. 

A U.S. Senate report released June 3 by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) disclosed the additional facilities with a "documented pattern of poor care" following a request from their offices. 

One nursing home facility in Meridian, the Meridian Community Living Center, is already on the CMS' list of special focus facilities and subject to possible increased inspections, fines and more.

The latest inspection report available, from Dec. 28, 2019, reported no health deficiencies in nine deficiency categories at Meridian Community Living Center, located at 517 33rd St.

But a June 2018 inspection report found six deficiencies for two patients, with four of them causing immediate jeopardy to one resident's health or safety. Inspection records redact personal information, including medical conditions. 

The report cites the facility for not providing enough nursing staff to meet the needs of every resident and having a licensed nurse in charge of each shift – specifically for respiratory care.

The patient, with a tracheostomy tube related to a redacted medical condition, didn't have a comprehensive care plan for suctioning or other respiratory services. The patient was hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia and determined to be in Immediate Jeopardy on May 28, 2018. The resident had trouble breathing overnight when no qualified medical personnel could suction the tracheostomy tube. The resident was hospitalized a second time on June 16 for similar problems.

The inspection report found that the facility "failed to ensure a Registered Nurse (RN) or Respiratory Therapy (RT) was on site for all shifts" and the patient was discharged from the facility. The Center no longer accepts patients with the redacted medical condition, according to the report. 

A review of one patient found that, despite concerns with diabetes, the patient hadn't visited a podiatrist/ foot care nurse for six months and had toenails so long that they curled upward. The inspection report said the patient didn't have a complete care plan to address their daily needs. 

The facility also "failed to prevent the potential spread of infection," the inspection report said after observing a nurse placing gloves and a glucometer (a glucose monitoring device) in her pocket, a relatively minor infraction.

The website notes that the average nursing home in Mississippi has 3.7 complaints, lower than the U.S. average of 7.9. 

A voicemail left for Meridian Community Living Center's director wasn't returned Friday or Monday.

Five other nursing home facilities qualify as candidates for special focus facilities in Mississippi: Woodland Village Nursing Center, in Diamondhead; Diversicare of Southaven, in Southaven; Mississippi Care Center of Greenville, in Greenville; Aurora Health and Rehabilitation, in Columbus; and Walter B. Crook Nursing Facility, in Ruleville.

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