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Outrage grows over care, conditions at Sodus nursing home

March 01, 2019 06:35 PM

SODUS, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The outrage is growing after a News10NBC investigation exposed new complaints about the quality of care at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Wayne County.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke has been covering the story for nearly two years, tracking down the owner, the inspectors and the commissioner of the health department but the problems persist.  

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On Thursday morning, News10NBC sent Governor Andrew Cuomo's office the last 10 stories we've done on the care and conditions inside the facility.

Cuomo scheduled an event on Friday morning in Rochester so News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke attended, hoping to speak with him about the topic. 

Following his event at the JCC in Rochester, the News10NBC crew waited for the governor outside by his SUV.  

A press aide saw the crew and came outside to ask if they were planning to approach the governor. Shortly after, they responded yes. The governor approached the door and then turned away.

The driver of his waiting SUV then hit the gas, raced around the corner of the building, picked up Cuomo at another door, and took off.   

Apparently, the governor didn't have time to answer the concerns of families with loved ones inside Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Those like Joi Ann Mitchell-Kenly who found her friend Bill Tanner with life-threatening bedsores just 40 days after he was moved into the facility.

"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," she told News10NBC.

After avoiding the News10NBC crew in the parking lot, a spokesman for the governor did get back to us with a statement late Friday afternoon.  

"The State has proposed legislation to place an independent monitor in poorly performing nursing homes, strengthen nursing home oversight, and impose more stringent penalties for violations. The allegations that have been raised are extremely troubling. Moving a loved one to a nursing home is often a very difficult decision, and people should not have to worry that the quality of care will be inadequate. The state takes every complaint extremely seriously and will hold accountable any bad actor to the fullest extent possible," says Jason Conwall.  

We also wanted to know what the state's top law enforcer is doing about the situation at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.  

When Tish James was a candidate for attorney general last fall, she watched our investigation and told us, "It's horrific, it's horrendous, no one should have to live like that."  

So, what is she doing about it now that she's the attorney general?  

Her spokeswoman told News10NBC in an email that she wouldn't be able to get us any information but would be in touch for future opportunities on the topic.  

Earlier this week, Judson McCaull, the administrator at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, sent News10NBC the following statement:

"As you know, we are restricted in disclosing any information pertaining to our residents under both the nursing home code and HIPAA.  Therefore,  we are not able to discuss any particular resident matters with you. There is a process in New York for the confidential investigation of complaints involving residents and reports concerning residents which is accomplished by the New York State Department of Health.  We cooperate in this process fully and provide all information requested by the State which is then subject to the confidentiality provisions of the Public Health Law. This process is very intensive and applies to all nursing homes in this State.   Any resulting survey findings arising from such complaints are published by DOH without identifying residents or staff while also publishing the plan of correction developed by a facility to address the root cause of such findings.  Our facility conscientiously and actively seeks to assure compliance in all areas of resident care."

New Yorkers who have a complaint or concern about Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center or any nursing home should contact the Centralized Complaint Intake directly at 1-888-201-4563, so appropriate action can be taken.

All complaints are reviewed and kept confidential.

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

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

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