A hearing on or soon after March 23 will determine the fate of the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center on Post Road in Warwick, which was found to be in violation of several state and federal regulations in mid-February. This week, the Department of Health announced its intent to revoke the license of the facility, which has had compliance issues since 2007.
The Department of Health’s (HEALTH) most recent inspection on Feb. 19 found problems with the center’s pain management, bed sore treatment, fall prevention and range of motion practices. In prior orders that date back several years, medication administration was a major area of concern, with both prescription verification and dosage being cited as issues. According to a source, a current patient was rushed to Kent County Hospital with what was believed to be an overdose of medication.
The facility is now being monitored daily by a HEALTH official.
“Our primary concern is ensuring the safety and well being of [the facility’s] residents,” said Director of Health, Dr. Michael Fine in a statement.
After HEALTH issued the Feb. 24 order, Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation’s administrator, Susan LaNinfa, said she and her staff were taking the necessary measures to improve the quality of care. Yesterday, as of press time, the Beacon was denied a tour of the facility to see such measures being taken.
LaNinfa refused comment, but Frank McMahon, a spokesperson for the center, issued this statement:
“We believe that the State’s action is unwarranted and remain committed to our staff, families and caring for our residents. At this time we are evaluating all options. Most importantly, we remain hopeful that our plans of action will not disrupt the lives of our residents who have called Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center home for a number of years. We are active in our pursuit to keep our nursing center in operation and have already communicated this to the state.”
David Burnett of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services said the Department of Health found significant cause to take the step to revoke the facility’s license. Their history of non-compliance was a major factor.
“But they have the opportunity to respond,” he said, and they may be safe if “If they prove to the hearing officer there is enough evidence to say the Department of Health is wrong.”
Those at the Department of Health cannot recall a revocation of a license since at least 2002.
Pawtuxet Village Rehabilitation and Care currently serves 102 patients. If the hearing officer deems the facility’s plea insufficient, the center will be closed, and patients will be relocated.
Burnett said a 2005 bill, the Nursing Facility Quality Improvement Act, was passed into law for situations just like this. The bill calls for a partnership between the Department of Human Services and the institution in jeopardy. If the Care and Rehab center were to close, Burnett said the Department of Health would work with clients and their families to find facilities that fit their needs and geographical location.
But regardless if HEALTH pulls the license or not, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has already sent a letter of notice that it has been decertified from Medicare. Thirty days after April 12, the facility will no longer receive federal reimbursements from Medicare patients, and those clients will have to be removed from the facility.
Burnett said there is more leeway with Medicaid patients, who will slowly be relocated to other institutions. However, the facility will eventually be unable to serve their needs as well.
Burnett could not speak to what would happen to current employees of the center.
“The company owns another facility in Warwick,” he said, surmising some employees would be relocated there.