SNF gets three-figure fine for failure to administer meds
When it comes to pain management, where do you draw the line?
For the past decade, the industry has been inundated with warnings about the many consequences of patient opioid prescription, including threats of diversion, addiction and overdose. But as we continue to educate ourselves and ensure responsible medication management among staff and residents, problems still persist.
Improper pain plan? Prepare to pay
A nursing home in Washington state was recently levied a $117,000 fine following a patient being denied proper pain meds. The individual requested higher doses of his opioid prescription, only for the facility to ignore his pleas. Desperate for relief from constant, excruciating pain, the resident reportedly ‘wished’ to get sicker in order to escape the situation and seek comfort in hospice.
Further investigation revealed the nursing home showed similar treatment to other patients, choosing to postpone, lessen—even skip doses—for people suffering. Staff also kept inconsistent record of correspondence with patients’ doctors, including the man at the center of the dispute. It was difficult for authorities to assess the extent of his discomfort, but from the sounds of it, the SNF was clearly in the wrong.
The moral of the story
In the aﬅermath of the not-so-stellar headline, facility officials say they have full intentions of appealing the fine. “[We] do not agree with either the stated deficiency or the assigned scope of severity,” said Adam Canary, administrator of Bainbridge Island Health and Rehabilitation Center. He elaborated on the ‘severity’ of the claims made by the individual, suggesting the facility’s neglect was justified.
No matter the outcome, skilled nursing and long-term care facilities should take a cue. Beyond the sticker shock of the penalty, reevaluation of patient pain plans should be an important topic of conversation among administrators and staff.
With every illness and combination of conditions resulting in varying levels of pain, treating residents as individuals is imperative. Oﬅentimes, their pain levels fluctuate. Not to mention, studies show that LTC residents are subject to interruptions in their dosage more than others. Unfortunately, prescription consistency is just one unique challenge shared by staff and administrators in our industry.
You can read the entire story surrounding the $17k fine levied by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at