SPOKANE, Wash. — Three Inland Northwest facilities were listed in a Senate report with hundreds of nursing homes around the country where inspectors found serious ongoing health, safety or sanitary problems.
Nearly 400 facilities nationwide had a "persistent record of poor care" as of April, but they were not included along with a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny and do have warning labels, according to a Senate report released Monday. For years, the federal government has kept the names of these nursing homes under wraps.
Gardens on University in Spokane Valley, Clearwater Health and Rehab of Cascadia in Orofino and LaCrosse Health and Rehab in Coeur d’Alene all made the list.
LaCrosse Health and Rehab Administrator Michael Littman told KREM 2 said the report is based on previous years of survey outcomes while LaCrosse was operated by two different companies that no longer exist.
In a statement, Michael Littman wrote:
Not only is LaCrosse in substantial compliance with state and federal agencies, we recently received United Wound Healing’s highest Diamond award for clinical outcomes based on regional and national clinical data. We also enjoy our partnership with North Idaho College and North Idaho Work Force Training Center as a receiving facility of choice for their students who perform their clinical rotations per program requirements.
We at LaCrosse profoundly thank all of our friends and families who entrust their loved ones to our care. I am extremely proud and grateful for our dedicated staff who continue to strive to enhance the lives of those we serve on moment at a time.
Littman said all current nursing home survey outcomes are available online.
KREM 2 left messages for the leaders of Gardens on University and Clearwater Health and Rehab of Cascadia but have not heard back.
Budget cuts appear to be contributing to the problem by reducing money available for the focused inspections that are required for nursing homes on the shorter list, according to documents and interviews.
The secrecy undermines the federal commitment to ensure transparency for families struggling to find nursing homes for loved ones and raises questions about why the names of some homes are not disclosed while others are publicly identified, according to two senators who released the report on Monday.
"We've got to make sure any family member or any potential resident of a nursing home can get this information, not only ahead of time but on an ongoing basis," said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who along with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., issued the report.
The senators released a list provided to them by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, of nursing homes with documented problems whose names were not publicly disclosed by the government.
The report and list were provided exclusively to The Associated Press and to PennLive.com.
About 1.3 million Americans are nursing home residents, cared for in more than 15,700 facilities. The senators' report noted that problem nursing homes on both lists account for about 3 percent.
CMS does publicly disclose names of a smaller group of about 80 nursing homes that are getting special scrutiny to help them resolve documented quality problems. They're in what's called the Special Focus Facility program. Nursing homes that don't improve can be cut off by Medicare and Medicaid.