Compliance issues contributed to east Houston nursing home's closure

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Richard Longtine is one of hundreds of family members deciding where his loved one will go after Montebello Wellness Center notified them the facility is closing. (KTRK)

Richard Longtine is one of hundreds of family members deciding where his loved one will go after Montebello Wellness Center notified them the facility is closing.

"It's a shame we all have to get old. Parents ask you, 'Please don't put me in a nursing home,'" he said.

The 142-bed nursing facility on Wood Bayou Drive received notice that effective February 11, (CMS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will terminate its Medicare and Medicaid agreements. Documents obtained by Eyewitness News explain what led to the abrupt decision. CMS says there was "failure to achieve substantial compliance within six months." After repeated visits, reports say they found "immediate jeopardy for failure to consult with the physician for one resident who experienced high blood sugar readings."

Longtine's mother Jeanette is diabetic and an amputee.

"It was a lot of fears I had with other places. They assured us it would be temporary and they'll be back open but we won't ever be back," says Longtine.

Beverly Wittekind, attorney for the parent company Ensign Services says, "Montebello is in the process of discontinuing its operation. During this process, the staff and employees of Montebello remain focused on and committed to the delivery of quality care to the residents they have the privilege to serve. The facility is providing support, direction and assistance to residents and families relative to relocation and transfers. All transfers are accomplished with the resident's safety, health and well-being as the priority. We appreciate your courtesy as the Montebello staff perform their duties and tend to the needs of the resident community."

Reports from CMS also say, "three residents sustained avoidable falls including one who sustained a hip fracture during an unattended fall in the bathroom."

Longtine adds, "Pretty much everywhere she's gone, there have been signs on the wall for fall protection. I wanted handrails on one side."

Longtine says while their mother has many medical issues, he and his siblings believe the best place for her now is in their own homes.

In addition to termination, Denial of Payment for New Medicare/Medicaid Admissions (DPNA) began September 10, 2015, and a Civil Money Penalty totaling $295,200 will be imposed.

The State Department of Aging and Disability Services says they have no pending investigations from the last 12 months.
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