By Jonathan Kay
Three Queens adult care facilities have been cited for “serious violations related to the care and services provided to residents” in the latest survey taken by several state agencies.
The Sanford Home for Adults in Flushing, King Solomon Manor in Jamaica and Ocean House Home for Adults in Far Rockaway were cited for at least six violations, and Ocean House was fined $5,100 to accompany the citation.
The ongoing joint-agency survey is under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Health, the state Office of Mental Health and the Commission on the Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled.
While violations at Sanford Home and King Solomon Manor were small-scale problems that the homes could quickly repair, Ocean House’s most prominent violation affected the entire home and required comprehensive renovations, said Department of Health spokesman Rob Kenny.
“At the Ocean House we found there were major issues with the storage and preparation of foods, and that could lead to food poisoning,” Kenny said.
A representative from Ocean House had no comment.
Although every adult care facility in the state is checked at least once every 18 months by the Department of Health, these joint-agency surveys targeted facilities where at least 25 percent of their patients suffered from mental illness.
The most common and severe violations at the Queens facilities involved the documentation of patients’ health, Kenny said. Poor documentation of health status and behavioral issues can inhibit a home’s ability to administer proper medical procedures and thus prevent patients from receiving the care they require, Kenny said.
All facilities must address their violations immediately to avoid heavy fines or, in the more extreme cases, a forced change in ownership, Kenny said.
“We require immediate correction and a written plan for improvement,” Kenny said. “We’ll review the plan, and if accepted we’ll allow a certain amount of time to pass before we go in unannounced to see that the homes have followed through.”
Homes can also be placed on a “Do Not Refer” list, which prohibits homes from accepting new patients if they are cited for “serious violations that could result in injury, impairment or death,” Kenny said. Although none of the three Queens homes was put on the list, Kenny said he expects the survey information to be taken into account when patients are referred to homes.
“This is information that we want to put out there immediately so those referring patients have the latest information available,” he said.
The Sanford Home could not be contacted, and a representative of King Solomon Manor House did not return repeated phone calls.
Two days after the joint report was released, the Department of Health released its most recent survey of nursing homes, just as the state’s handling of nursing home issues was coming under attack from state Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall. He criticized the state for ignoring complaints from nursing home residents and their families.
In response to McCall’s comments, Kenny pointed to the all-time high number of trained inspectors currently employed by the state and the recent introduction of a centralized complaint hotline, which together have led to a record number of fines levied against homes.
Of the five Queens nursing homes surveyed, four were cited for deficiencies when surveyed four months ago, but now all five are in compliance with state regulations, the report said.
The homes include Chapin Home for the Aging in Jamaica, Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Flushing, and three from Far Rockaway: Lawrence Nursing Care Center, the only home not cited for violations, New Surfside Nursing Home and Ocean Promenade RHCF.
Eric Kalt, an administrator at the Franklin Center, said that while he believes the inspection process can be improved, it is a way for the state to annually ensure that homes are providing quality care. He also credited the Department of Health for promptly investigating calls.
“I believe we are doing an efficient job at this time,” Kenny said.