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Local

Nursing home’s status unclear

Officials: Failure to correct safety issues prompts threat

MORRISON – Because of life safety issues, Morrison Community Hospital’s nursing home could lose Medicaid and Medicare funding starting in mid-November, federal officials warned Tuesday.

But a state agency that inspects nursing homes for the federal government said late in the day that the facility was back in compliance.

The home is licensed for 35 beds, with 24 of them for residents on Medicaid and Medicare, according to the Department of Public Health website. Typically, nursing homes depend heavily on such federal funding.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a notice Tuesday that it was ending its relationship with the nursing home, Four Seasons Living Center, on Nov. 16.

But William Meyers, an official with the Department of Public Health, said in an after-hours email to hospital CEO Pam Pfister that the nursing home had demonstrated compliance. He said his agency was sending notice to CMS to cancel the termination.

Every year, a half dozen Illinois nursing homes might see their Medicare and Medicaid funding terminated, Melaney Arnold, a department spokesman, said earlier in the day.

On behalf of the federal government, the Department of Public Health inspected the Four Seasons on May 16 to identify deficiencies. Since then, the nursing home had not corrected the problems, according to CMS.

The violations were not unusual for a nursing home. They include issues such as frequency of meals and infection-control procedures.

Pfister said the hospital submitted its plan of correction in July.

“It appears they didn’t follow up on their revisit [to the nursing home] in a timely manner,” Pfister said. “It would be my assumption that this paperwork was mishandled.”

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, surveyors from the federal or state government visit nursing homes regularly to identify deficiencies. They require that the homes correct the problems, and if they don’t, Medicare and Medicaid funding ends.

Most nursing homes have some deficiencies, with the average being six or seven per survey. Most correct the issues relatively quickly, the website says.

A few nursing homes can continue to operate after losing their Medicare and Medicaid funding. Most close.

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