Fines and Sanctions for Ohio Nursing Homes

nursing home fines and sanctions

Ohio is the fourth most punitive state in the country, based on the average fine per nursing home, but over the past three years heavy fines have been rare in most Ohio nursing homes.  The average fine paid for accidental injuries, neglect and other deficiencies from 2010-2012 was $8,128 per home, about $2,000 below the national average.

These figures were supplied by the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Ohio has 956 nursing homes, only Texas and California have more.

Washington State led the nation with an average nursing home fine of more than $90,000 and Oregon had the lowest average fine at $1,300 per home.  The top five homes were located in the following states and had fines ranging from $525,000 to $737,000 during the last three years: South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.

During the past three years, high fines were levied in Ohio against Liberty Nursing Center of Oxford ($250,000); Elizabeth Sev Prentiss of Cleveland ($232,000); MCV Health Care Facilities in Mason ($169,943); Fairview Skilled Nursing in Toledo ($122,000) and Brookview Healthcare Center in Defiance ($106,400).

Another common action to encourage nursing homes to make improvements is sanctions.  These can include halting Medicaid payments for new admissions, otherwise known as “payment suspensions.”  Ohio has had 47 instances of nursing home Medicaid payment suspensions over the past three years, according to the CMS.

The suspensions force the home to act faster in remedying the issues as they have less ability to attract new residents and get new revenue.  This can be more powerful than being fined.  The state must make recommendations to the CMS regional office which actually imposes the fine.  The Ohio Department of Health does not have any authority to levy fines.  CMS maintains flexibility in imposing fines because each situation is different in scope and severity.

Deficiencies at a home that do not jeopardize residents receive much lower fines than something like sexual assault or an accidental death, but there are widespread inconsistencies across the country.  Nursing homes in Texas had an average fine of $6,933 per home during the three-year period, more than $1,000 lower than Ohio’s.  Yet Texas had the 11th highest number of serious deficiencies reported to CMS, while Ohio had the sixth lowest.

In checking into the five most fined nursing homes in Ohio (in the past three years), we found that on most sites the homes listed above (Liberty, Elizabeth Sev Prentiss, MCV, Fairview Skilled Nursing, and Brookview) rated 1 out of 5 or 2 out of  5 overall (with 5 the highest).  But they rated higher on some sites and one of the homes was actually listed as a “Best” nursing home on a site.  When considering a nursing home, it may be a good idea to check www.odh.ohio.gov and a federal site, www.medicare.gov.

If a family member of spouse has been abused or injured in an Ohio nursing home or assisted living facility, you may need assistance in handling the matter.  Please contact Slater & Zurz LLP by calling 1-888-709-9967 for a FREE consultation with an attorney experienced in Ohio nursing home abuse.

Slater & Zurz LLP has dedicated a separate website to the subject of nursing home abuse in OhioIt is filled with a wide variety of useful information that will provide an education on the most common types of nursing home abuse, signs to watch for that indicate nursing home abuse is taking place, and actions to take if you suspect nursing home abuse is actually happening.