The state’s largest nursing home chain has failed to provide sufficient nursing hours per resident at 11 facilities including one in West Palm Beach and has logged nearly $2 million in recent regulatory fines, a report from a union group trying to renew contracts at some facilities says.
In a statement, Maitland-based Consulate Health Care called the report “an unorganized collection of inaccurate data” from a union “present in a very small number of our Florida care centers.”
One in three Consulate nursing homes is on Florida’s watch list for failing to comply with regulations or not fixing problems fast enough, and its Deltona facility received Florida’s largest recent federal fine at more than $677,000, according to a report from the 1199 Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers East Florida.
Consulate Health Care of West Palm Beach provided 2.38 hours of certified nursing assistant care per patient per day, below a state standard of 2.5 hours, the union report based on data from the first quarter of 2013 says.
In addition, the West Palm Beach facility provided 29 minutes of registered nurse care per resident per day, compared to a Florida average of 43 minutes, records on Medicare.gov show.
The union group, which says it represents 24,000 nurses and health workers in Florida, found 16 percent of the 76 Florida nursing homes owned by Consulate Health Care failed to meet the state’s certified nursing assistant staffing standard of 2.5 hours, and 62 percent were below the state average of 2.79 hours.
Privately-held Consulate, founded in 1997, has revenues of $1.7 billion and 23,000 employees in 21 states, with Florida its largest market, the Orlando Business Journal has reported.
The company responded, “The claims and allegations that they have made in the report that you reference are not accurate, and that is evident by the data we are required to provide to the state of Florida.”
Company officials declined to offer what they consider the correct statistics.
“I care for more residents than I ever have per day,” said Rochelle Salcedo, indentified in a teleconference as a nurse with 13 years experience at a company facility in Palm Bay. She said she has not had a raise in two years and her health insurance is expensive with high deductibles.
Insufficient staffing can increase the risk of problems such as malnourishment and fractures, said Brian Lee, executive director of advocacy group Families for Better Care.
“Understaffed nursing homes strain resident safeguards, increasing the frequency of abuse or neglect,” Lee said. “Quite simply, if there aren’t enough staff to assist residents to the bathroom, turn residents in bed, or stabilize someone who needs help walking down the hallway, residents will suffer a higher frequency of skin breakdown, pressure sores, or possible bone fractures.”
Consulate has four facilities in West Palm Beach. According to federal ratings at Medicare.gov, Renaissance Health and Rehabilitation received one out of five stars, the lowest grade for overall care. Coral Bay Healthcare and Rehabiliation and Wood Lake Nursing and Rehabilitation Center each received two stars, or below average, while Consulate Health Care of West Palm Beach received a 3-star or average mark.
Consulate is “proud of the fact that nearly all of our centers in the state are American Health Care Association Quality Award recipients,” said a statement from Jennifer L. Trapp, vice president of corporate communications.
“Consulate will continue to work diligently in the best interest of our employees and patients, and as always, employee care and patient care remains our primary focus,” the statement said.