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Investigation into care and conditions at Sodus nursing home continues

April 11, 2019 06:41 PM

SODUS, N.Y. (WHEC) -- As News10NBC continues to push for answers, a local nursing home is pushing back. The administrator at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center asked News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke to leave the property after she went inside looking to review documents that are supposed to be accessible to the public.  

Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center has been at the center of a year-long News10NBC investigation as dozens of families and former staff members have come forward with troubling stories about the care and conditions inside the facility.      

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The photos, videos and stories from inside speak for themselves.

The most recent, a case of bed sores so bad the victim nearly became septic after just a few months as a patient.  His loved ones, and others with family members inside, are wondering when is enough, enough.

"It needs to be closed and not when their done with their investigations and looking into it and health department calls and slaps on the wrist. It needs to be closed and those people transported to different places," says Joi Ann Mitchell who was able to transfer her loved one from Sodus Rehab to another facility after he was rushed to the hospital.  

State health inspectors from the Department of Health have been inside the facility multiple times since our investigation began but public records of their findings are typically delayed by three-months while they are imputed into a statewide database. So, News10NBC decided to go straight to the nursing home to review any recent Notices of Deficiency.    

According to NYS regulations a nursing home facility must: 

  • Post in a place readily accessible to residents, and family members and legal representatives of residents, the results of the most recent survey of the facility. 
  • Have reports with respect to any surveys, certifications, and complaint investigations made respecting the facility during the three preceding years, and any plan of correction in effect with respect to the facility, available for any individual to review upon request.
  • Post notice of the availability of such reports in areas of the facility that are prominent and accessible to the public. "Readily accessible" is defined as a place (such as a lobby or other area frequented by most residents, visitors or other individuals) where individuals wishing to examine survey results do not have to ask to see them.

So, considering those regulations, News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke walked into the facility (without a photographer or camera) and requested to review the information. She was met at the front desk by the administrator, Judson McCaull, who asked her to wait outside while he made a phone call.  About five minutes later, he came back outside and said he was not obligated to provide any information and asked her to leave the property.   

In a statement, Gary Holmes, a spokesman for the NYS Department of Health, says, "nursing homes are required by federal and state regulation to make surveys, certifications, and complaint investigative findings publicly available.  We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and we've been in contact with the facility to make sure they comply with this regulation."   

After asking her to leave the property, McCaull responded to an email from Lewke reminding him of the regulations saying, "We have reviewed your request and would advise that you are not correct… our facility is dedicated to providing a safe, secure, and dignified environment for all its staff and residents. As this is each residents' home, our facility will not allow completely unrestricted public access in order to maintain the safety, security and dignity of all."

News10NBC has obtained copies of the documents McCaull refused to let Lewke see.

We are reviewing them right now and will have a follow-up to this story on Friday.  

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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