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State

Nursing home cited for truck stop incident

LEBANON (AP) — State health officials have cited a southern Illinois nursing home for leaving a sick, disabled man at a truck stop without his medication or ID because he refused to submit to a mandatory background check.

Petersen Health Network, which operates 90-bed the Lebanon Care Center, was cited for improper nursing care, violating a resident's rights and an involuntary transfer, The Belleville News-Democrat reported (http://bit.ly/1btaDUz ).

Greg Wilson, Petersen's vice president of operations, said the company plans to appeal.

Thomas Hearty, 56, was left at a Denny's at a Flying J truck stop in Alorton in late July after he refused to undergo a criminal background check mandated by state law.

Police found Hearty, who has a history of diabetes and strokes, sitting in his wheelchair outside the restaurant with his clothes in two clear, plastic bags. Hearty has a 1992 felony burglary conviction, the paper reported.

"The facility continues to maintain that at all times it was in compliance with all state (and) federal regulations and was acting at the direction of the Illinois Department of Public Health in discharging the resident," Wilson said in a statement.

Wilson said the nursing home employees simply took Hearty where he asked to go after he had to leave the facility because keeping him without a fingerprint background check would have been illegal.

Alorton police took Hearty to a hospital and he returned to the nursing home the next day. He's been there ever since.

"They were responsible for my care and my well-being and I think they neglected both aspects there," Hearty told the newspaper.

Neither Lebanon Care Center nor Petersen Health Network were fined, but they will have to submit a corrective action plan to the Illinois Department of Public Health. They can lose eligibility for a two-year license, but would be able to get a one-year license.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

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