Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 19, 2013 — Federal health officials announced they will suspend Medicare and Medicaid payments to a troubled Tampa nursing home.
When the payments cease, the home, Lakeshore Villas, will become the second pediatric nursing home in Florida to close in 2013 amid allegations that the state is “warehousing” disabled children in nursing homes, in the words of federal officials who investigated claims of children living in relative isolation with little activity or stimulation.
“All residents of nursing homes need and deserve attention and activities,” stated Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer Robert Joyce. “And that is especially true of children. Inadequate levels of stimulation can constitute neglect or even abuse.”
The payments were scheduled to be suspended on August 12, after which patients would have to pay their own way or through private insurance if they remained. The home’s management issued a statement saying it would close down the same day. They also said they believed the home to be in compliance with all regulations.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has given Lakeshore 14 citations for severe deficiencies, ten of which left patients in immediate danger, and the remaining four of which caused patients actual harm. The home is one of the highest-fined in Florida, with over a quarter million dollars in fines just since 2011.
Lakeshore’s state license expired on June 29, 2013, but it has remained open while the owner, Senior Care Group, Inc., appeals its case.
The home came under intense scrutiny in the fall of 2012, when the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice accused Florida of cutting funding for community services for disabled children so deeply that parents had no choice but to commit their children to nursing homes, often far from home. At that time, just six nursing homes, including Lakeshore accepted children. After Lakeshore closes, only four will remain.
The Florida AHCA has defended its policies against federal scrutiny, but in its own inspection of Lakeshore in March, 2013, it found the home did not provide “meaningful” or “developmentally appropriate” activities for two of three children observed on the day of the inspection. According to the report, the home’s own documentation showed that entire days had gone by without activities staff even entering the pediatric ward.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave,
Tampa, FL 33606
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