November 27, 2014
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Clear as mud

Doing the right thing is not always easy. Sometimes, to do the right thing, you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes you have to point the finger, pass the blame or hurt someone’s feelings. Sometimes, it’s easy to tell what the right thing is. Other times, the answer is as clear as mud.

The Department of Health (HEALTH) is trying to do the right thing, but it definitely hasn’t been simple. HEALTH has gotten their hands dirty, pointed the finger, passed the blame and hurt feelings. But what they’re trying to do is ensure the safety and well-being of at least 102 people.

HEALTH is putting the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center’s feet to the fire. After complaints and an unannounced inspection that occurred under a probationary period, the center was found to be in non-compliance (again) with state and federal standards. The Post Road facility has been told by HEALTH that their license may be revoked, something that those at HEALTH can’t recall happening in Rhode Island since at least 2002.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have pulled the facility’s certification for reimbursement, so even if they don’t lose their license, they’re going to lose many of their clients.

But where will these people go? HEALTH said they will help clients and their families relocate, but it’s easier said than done.

And what about the staff at the center? There are other, similar facilities in Warwick, but will all of these people still maintain their jobs?

For everyone connected to the facility, the latest news from HEALTH is a bitter pill to swallow.

Sources have told the Beacon that at least one patient was rushed to the hospital with what was believed to be an overdose. HEALTH saw signs of medication dosage errors in years past, but then the center cleaned its act up again. This time, HEALTH isn’t willing to let the center have that third, or fourth, or fifth strike.

Some have speculated that the reason the facility’s standards have fluctuated is due to an ever-changing administration.

Susan LaNinfa, the facility’s current administrator, was hesitant to make a comment yesterday as of press time. A visit to the center was met with a request to leave the premises, which raises the question: Why?

It’s not up to us to decide if there’s something wrong inside the walls of the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center, it’s up to the Department of Health. On March 23, when the center has the chance to make their final plea against HEALTH’s ruling, the hearing officer has a tough decision to make.

The decision, and its outcome, will not be easy.


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