WJTV News Channel 12 - JC nursing home fined $1,250 a day after abuse investigation

JC nursing home fined $1,250 a day after abuse investigation

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Two Johnson City nursing home residents suffered injuries at the hands of the same Asbury Place nursing home employee, that's according to an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Now, the federal government is requiring Asbury Place to pay a fine of $1,250 a day, effective last November 5th. The facility is currently appealing that fine.

That employee, a certified nursing assistant, was investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Adult Protective Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The alleged abuse happened inside Asbury Place on West Myrtle Avenue in Johnson City last year, according to documents filed with the Tennessee Department of Health.

The most recent allegation surfaced in November after an Asbury Place resident complained, saying a certified nursing assistant held both of his arms and forced him to eat a banana, according to the documents. The documents say he suffered a bruise and an X-ray suggested he also suffered a fractured wrist.

The CNA denied force-feeding the resident but admitted to moving him improperly, eventually saying, "I was in a hurry...trying to get things done...it was a complete accident...I didn't know he had a bone disease."

After looking at the employee's personnel file, investigators discovered just three months prior, the same Asbury Place employee was written up for letting an incontinent man sit unchanged in the same position for hours.

In all, the Tennessee Department of Health tells us surveyors identified four "federal harm-level deficiencies" after the weeklong investigation which ranged from May 28th to June 4th of this year.

"TDH staff members have revisited the facility since that time and determined the deficiencies have been corrected," Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson Shelley Walker said.

The nursing home was required to file a plan of correction, which the administrator did.

"The filing of this plan of correction does not constitute an admission that the deficiencies alleged did, in fact, exist," the documents say. "This plan of correction is filed as evidence of the facility to comply with the requirement of participation and continue to provide high quality resident care."

"It hurts me terribly to hear of things like this," Asbury Place Administrator Mark de Defluiter said. "The health, safety and well-being of patients at Asbury are my top priority. (As soon as we received the complaint) we immediately started an investigation and voluntarily reported it to the state and local authorities. We undertook internal steps and reviewed our process so that we could ensure that this situation wouldn't happen again to anybody else."

As for the potential for criminal charges, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it does not have a criminal case open.

"At this time we are aware of the allegations and are following up on those complaints," TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm said.

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