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Nursing home with 70+ COVID-19 patients fined $68,000, cited for 28 violations in 2019

Southeast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center rated ‘much below average’ records show

SAN ANTONIO – The nursing home where more than 70 cases of COVID-19 and at least one death have been reported was fined more than $60,000 by federal regulators and cited for dozens of violations last year, according to records analyzed by KSAT.

At least 75 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at Southeast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced Thursday during a daily briefing.

Infected staff at nursing home with 75 COVID-19 patients worked at other San Antonio facilities

The official U.S. government website for Medicare lists the “overall rating" for the Southeast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center at “much below average,” with only one out of five stars. The rating is based on “health inspections, staffing and quality measures” observed during its last three inspections.

In its latest inspection, in October 2019, the facility was cited for 28 total violations of state standards. That includes 17 health-related citations, which is more than double the number of average violations for Texas nursing homes and 9 more violations than the national average, according to Medicare.gov.

In March 2019, the facility was fined $62,000 by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services after it found the facility failed to administer the proper care for a resident, according to Medicare.gov. The woman didn’t have a bowel movement for nearly two weeks and staff failed to notify her doctor and she ended up hospitalized with an infection, the report states.

An additional three residents “were not given showers on various dates according to their scheduled shower days” based on a complaint inspection report from April 2019.

The facility, located at 4302 E. Southcross, is licensed for 116 beds.

Jaivon Cuffin and his mother, Tanaya, were at the nursing home Wednesday to visit with his 64-year-old grandmother, who was marking her birthday. The pair could only visit with her through an outside window and the grandmother wasn’t wearing a mask.

“They didn’t call us,” said Tanaya Cuffin, who added the nursing home had only alerted them to the first case.

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said there are 68 nursing home facilities in San Antonio and that the city has no plans to take over any nursing home facilities, but will monitor and provide support.

By law, nursing home inspections are conducted at least once a year to ensure residents receive care “of adequate quality,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. More inspections could take place if regulators receive complaints.

In fact, Southeast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center San Antonio was inspected three times in 2019. The first two inspections were related to complaints and the third was the overall health inspection of the facility. Historic data shows the facility had an increase in deficiencies in nearly every category from 2017 to 2018 and again from 2018 to 2019, with the highest number of deficiencies shown in the quality of life and care category.

“We were just made aware of the failed inspection that happened,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Tuesday night. “I will be asking our staff to follow up and make sure we are catching any of those [other facilities] that also have prior histories [of citations]."

KSAT emailed a spokesperson from the nursing home asking for comment regarding the numerous violations but has not heard back.

Below is a breakdown of the violations cited at the facility on Oct. 25, 2019. Violations with an * in the list above indicate that the violation was corrected, according to Texas Health and Human on Services, on Nov. 26, 2019.

  • The facility did not give each resident care and services to get or keep the highest quality of life possible.*
  • The facility did not keep accurate and appropriate records.*
  • The facility did not make sure each resident is being watched and has assistance devices, when needed, to prevent accidents.*
  • The facility did not make sure that nurse aides show they have the skills to be able to care for residents.*
  • The facility did not make sure that staff members wash their hands when needed.*
  • The facility did not store, cook, and give out food in a safe and clean way.*
  • The facility failed to have a comprehensive care plan reviewed and revised by qualified persons after each assessment.*
  • The facility failed to include in the care plan services that will be provided to the resident.*
  • The facility failed to keep all important equipment working safely.*
  • The facility failed to obtain written authorization from a resident to protect his personal funds.*
  • The facility failed to provide a program to control or prevent mice, insects, or other pests in the nursing home.*
  • The facility failed to provide annual continuing education to staff caring for pediatric residents.*
  • The facility failed to provide its employees with the required information on HIV as part of orientation and every year.*
  • The facility failed to provide its nursing staff in-service training suitable for their job responsibilities every year.*
  • The facility failed to provide its staff orientation, training, and in-service meetings.*
  • The facility failed to train staff on their responsibilities under the emergency preparedness and response plan.*
  • The facility failed to maintain the sprinkler system components in compliance with the requirements of the NFPA code.
  • The facility failed to make sure electrical extension cords or multi-receptacle plug-in adaptors were not used as a substitute for approved wiring methods in the facility.
  • The facility failed to make sure resident bedrooms that house more than one resident have privacy curtains for each bed.
  • The facility failed to meet the National Electrical Code and to follow lighting guidelines in the Lighting Handbook.
  • The facility failed to provide a bed, with an appropriate mattress and bedding, sized according to the needs of the resident at a height that is safe for the resident and to provide appropriate furniture for the resident’s needs.
  • The facility failed to provide a nurse call device at each bed.
  • The facility failed to provide emergency power for alarm systems when the power goes off.
  • The facility failed to provide emergency power for electric outlets in the specified locations when the power goes off.
  • The facility failed to provide emergency power for exit signs when the power goes off.
  • The facility failed to provide emergency power for lighting in the specified areas when the power goes off.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

Staff Reporter Garret Brnger and Investigative Reporter Dillon Collier contributed to this report.

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