Wichita nursing home on list of troubled facilities that haven’t improved

Selecting a nursing home. Loved ones ‘have to monitor care on a daily basis.’

Hear from Sherry Culp, the Kentucky long term care ombudsman, who helps inspect nursing homes for proper care, as well as Brookdale Senior Living resident Becky Walters.
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Hear from Sherry Culp, the Kentucky long term care ombudsman, who helps inspect nursing homes for proper care, as well as Brookdale Senior Living resident Becky Walters.

A Wichita nursing home is on a list of troubled facilities at risk of losing their Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements if they don’t turn around.

Thirteen months ago, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put Woodlawn Care and Rehabilitation, which operates as Orchard Gardens Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, on its nationwide list of “special focus facilities,” nursing homes that have a history of problems more numerous, severe or persistent than average.

The 93-bed facility at 1600 S. Woodlawn in Wichita is among 36 U.S. nursing homes that the government has said as of mid-November haven’t shown significant improvement during a subsequent inspection, records show.

Among deficiencies noted in the nursing home’s most recent health inspection report, dated July 3, were:

  • Failures to provide required Medicare non-coverage-related notices to patients

  • It didn’t complete a smoking assessment for a patient to determine whether he or she could smoke safely without staff supervision. That patient was caught smoking in the building.

  • Staff gave some patients drugs they didn’t need. One patient had duplicate orders for laxatives. Another had multiple pain medication patches on at the same time, increasing the chance of opioid overdose and associated risks. Staff didn’t document vital signs for two patients before giving them blood pressure lowering medications.

  • Staff gave another patient medication five times without a physician’s order.

  • Opened food packages in the refrigerator and freezer weren’t dated to track spoilage.

Facility manager Karen Wilkerson told The Eagle by phone that Orchard Gardens “has made a lot of improvements” but said she couldn’t comment on what the nursing home was doing to overcome deficiencies. Follow-up phone calls were not returned.

Orchard Gardens, owned and operated by Ahuva Health Management, received an overall rating of two out of five stars from Nursing Home Compare, which provides information and inspection results for more than 15,000 Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes in the U.S.

The nursing home’s heath inspection rating, one of five stars, is considered “much below average,” according to the site.

A June 2016 health inspection at Orchard Gardens uncovered 27 health violations — more than triple the average in Kansas and more than four times the national average. Orchard Gardens had compliant inspections last December, in February and in May, according to Nursing Home Compare.

Over the past three years, Orchard Gardens has received four penalties for receiving a serious citation or failing to correct a problem. They include fines totaling $77,229 and one denied payment from Medicare.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services visit nursing homes regularly to ensure patients receive the kind of care the programs require. The centers created the Special Focus Facility Initiative to prompt improvements and fix underlying problems that cause recurrent deficiencies.

Special focus facilities are inspected in person twice as often as other nursing homes. Ones that don’t make lasting improvements can be terminated from participation in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, which usually results in their closure.

About half of the nursing homes designated as special focus facilities improve enough to graduate from the program within 24 to 30 months. Around 16 percent lose their reimbursements.

Like Orchard Garden’s, the 78-bed Garden Valley Retirement Village in Garden City also didn’t improve, according to the special focus facilities list. It was designated a special focus facility three months ago and had its last inspection in October.

A third Kansas nursing home, Prescott Country View Nursing Home in Prescott, was on the special focus facilities list for nine months but is no longer participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs. Facilities on the list stop participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs either because they’ve voluntarily opted out or because they’ve been terminated.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.