by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
MONROE, N.C. - A Monroe nursing home has removed a sign advertising a five-star rating after a Channel 9 investigation into federal Medicare records at the facility.
A Union County resident contacted Eyewitness News with concerns about the advertising at the Brian Center in Monroe following a federal Medicare inspection in August 2012.
Federal records show after the inspection, the Brian Center was rated an overall three stars, and only two stars under the "Health Inspections" section.
According to Medicare documents, inspectors found aides at the home were not properly administering medications to residents, had expired medications on property, and had served several residents cold food.
But despite that, the banner advertising the Brian Center's "5 Star Rating" has been hung outside the nursing home since at least May 2013, when Eyewitness News first investigated the nursing home for allegations of theft of residents' money, according to police reports.
Elmer Hogue, 84, lives across the street from the Brian Center and said he's considered moving in there when he needs care.
"Five stars, that would be attractive to me," Hogue said of the banner.
Channel 9 called the facility to ask about the findings in the last inspection, and about the banner. A company representative declined an on-camera interview but agreed to answer written questions via email.
The response from a spokeswoman is included below:
"Out of respect for the privacy of the patients identified in the 2012 annual survey, I cannot comment specifically on the facts that were the basis for the deficiencies cited during that survey. The facility was cited with a few deficiencies at scope and severity levels that do not reflect actual harm. As part of the regulatory process, the facility submitted a plan of correction that was accepted by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Health and Human Services subsequently found the facility to be in substantial compliance with State licensing requirements and the Federal Requirements of Participation. As a result of this incident and as part of the plan of correction, the facility provided education for the licensed nursing staff regarding medication administration. The nursing and dietary staff also received education regarding food temperatures and dining service.
"We appreciate the efforts and diligence of the staff as they worked to correct these deficiencies and we thank the local community for its support and loyalty to Brian Center Health & Retirement/Monroe."
As for the sign itself, the spokeswoman said, “With respect to the banner hanging outside of the facility, facility staff have indicated to me that they inadvertently failed to take it down after their annual survey last year. It will be removed promptly."
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