Post Standard reporter James T. Mulder has published a story this morning of deeply concerning behavior at another CNY nursing home. We've previously written here of some of the troubles CNY nursing homes have run into in the past few years. Now it seems that another for-profit nursing home has been cited by New York State Department of Health for being at fault for the death of two residents and failure to treat residents with "respect and dignity". The New York State Department of Health is considering what type of fine to impose on Pontiac Nursing Home which is located in Oswego. The Department of Health cited Pontiac for "immediate jeopardy" the most serious nursing home violation. This report comes on the heels of another report last week that 3 other for-profit nursing homes, Bishop Rehabilitation Center (formerly known as James Square), Onondaga Center, and Utica Rehabilitation and Nursing Center are on the Federal government's secret list of the worst nursing homes.
While it is great to see the local news media really dig into these issues that are impacting our community, and in particularly the elderly and vulnerable within our community, it is tragic that New York State continues to grapple with such low-performing for-profit nursing home facilities. This great reporting by James T. Mulder, when viewed in tandem with the phenomenal series put out by The Buffalo News earlier this year, paints a troubling picture. For-profit nursing home facilities, burdened by the need to generate cash for their owners, cut costs wherever possible, including on staffing ratios, needed upgrades to the facility (see, the leaky roof in this morning's story), and adequate medical supervision for the staff and residents.
It is only by continuing to shine a light on the outrageous treatment of our seniors that real changes can be made. While it is unlikely that New York State Department of Health issues any penalties more severe than a fine to the owner of the facility, we as a society must continue to hold these facilities and their owners accountable for their actions.