Reports, analysis put New Mexico nursing homes at bottom

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Reports and an analysis by a journalism organization put New Mexico nursing homes among the worst in the nation.

A study by ProPublica showed that of 74 Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes located in New Mexico, inspectors reported serious deficiencies in 36 of them between 2015 and April 2018, the Albuquerque Journal reported .

Reports filed with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate more than 2,217 infractions were reported in New Mexico-based nursing homes in recent years.

The infractions include the relatively minor, such as failing to give adequate notice before switching roommates and not promptly delivering mail. Some infractions are potentially deadly – improper fire safety precautions and abuse of residents.

Nursing homes in New Mexico have been fined $2.42 million between 2015 and April 2018 and had their Medicare and Medicaid payments suspended for compliance issues 44 times over the same time period.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Health’s Division of Health Improvement said in a statement that the department “take(s) seriously our role to protect New Mexico’s elderly population,” the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The state conducts inspections of nursing homes every 12 to 15 months or when a complaint is received; the findings are then reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which determines penalties and actions, the spokesman said.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office said in an email to the Albuquerque Journal that the agency is “very concerned” about the status of resident care in the state.

The office is pursuing a civil case against two nursing home operators, Preferred Care and Cathedral Rock, who are accused of failing to provide basic services on a regular basis to residents at seven nursing homes in the state.

Preferred Care and Cathedral Rock did not respond to requests for comment from the Albuquerque Journal.

There were 5,749 nursing home residents in New Mexico as of 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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