The Tennessee Department of Health suspended admissions to Signature Healthcare in Greeneville, Tennessee effective January 5, 2010. According to an article on TriCities.com, the nursing home was recently surveyed by the department of health and severe shortcomings and violations were found in administration, performance improvement and nursing services.
The act of restricting or suspending admissions to a nursing home is only exercised by the State, through the health department, in drastic cases. The department has the several options available when faced with a noncompliant nursing facility, ranging from citations, fines, orders for re-inspection, and ultimately, closure of the facility. In the instant case, the department suspended admissions and imposed a $1,500.00 fine on the facility. The state has requested a fine of $4,550.00 per day against the facility for the duration that the violations continue.
From a practical standpoint, the facility will continue to operate while they attempt to resolve the violations found by the Tennessee Department of Health; they will simply not be allowed new admissions. This remedy does not provide recompense for people that are already residents of the facility who may be receiving or may have received inadequate care during their stay. This point is important as the violations giving rise to the closure involve the care of the people already in their facility. The department of health will suspend admissions only when violations are found that are or can lead to conditions that are detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the residents.
At the Higgins Firm, we represent individuals and families of individuals in Tennessee that have been harmed by neglect or abuse at nursing home facilities. When a facility, such as the one here, is found in violation, there is typically nothing done directly by the State to address the damages or needs of any individual in the facility as a result of abuse or neglect. This is true even where the abuse or neglect of an individual resident is the direct cause of the violation that suspends the facility from admitting new residents. Therefore, the burden is on the resident or the resident’s family to address and seek recompense for the damages suffered as a result of abuse or neglect.