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Nursing home employees praised for saving nursing home residents during facility fire

(Posted: 07/06/2017)

Two skilled nursing employees were credited this week with rushing into "heavy smoke conditions" and pulling two occupants to safety, according to local reports.

The fire at Courville at Nashua was reported at 2 a.m. Sunday and contained to a second-floor room. One resident was taken to an area hospital for possible smoke inhalation, but he was expected to recover.

"They were two maintenance or housekeeping guys who were here on a special project. They just saw the smoke, ran into the room, got the residents, the gentlemen out of the room. It just worked perfectly," Courville Company President and CEO Luanne Rogers told television station WMUR. The 100-bed Courville at Nashua is part of Courville Communities.

Neither rescuer wished to be identified local officials said. More than half of the 90 residents were taken to a nearby Kindred facility while damaged parts of Nashua facility were under repairs.

Rogers credited preparation and dedicated staff for avoiding tragedy, telling the station that she had "the best staff on the planet." Fire officials also said automatic sprinklers contained the fire and that the cause was under investigation.

"The staff did everything they were supposed to do," Rogers told The Boston Herald. "It's one of the blessings of living in New Hampshire: If something happens, your peers step up. We had staff who heard about it and just came in and helped."

Source: McKnight's

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St. Clair County woman indicted for nursing home arson

(Posted: 06/26/2017)

A 49-year-old East St. Louis woman was indicted earlier this week for allegedly torching a Cahokia nursing home, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Donald Boyce said.

According to court documents, the Cahokia Nursing and Rehab Center caught fire May 31, 2016.

Prosecutors allege Lori Jones, an employee at the facility, set fire to the building. More than 100 elderly patients had to be evacuated and relocated as a result of the fire.

Prosecutors did not disclose a possible motive for setting the fire.
Jones was charged with one count of arson.

If convicted, Jones faces between 5 and 20 years in prison, followed by 3 years of probation, and a $250,000 fine.

Source: FOX 2 NOW

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Ohio SNF shooter disabled alarm, spoke with residents during incident, employees recount

(Posted: 06/20/2017)

The gunman in a shooting that left two Ohio nursing home employees and a police officer dead reportedly shot the facility's alarm system as he entered, leaving many employees unaware that he was in the building.

That's according to three nurse aides who spoke with a local newspaper last week. They're working to raise money to cover counseling sessions for employees of Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville, OH.

“This is a nursing home, why does he have a gun?” nurse aide Mandi Moran recalled thinking as Thomas Hartless entered the facility on May 12.

Moran told the Newark Advocate she watched Hartless come down the hallway after shooting the alarm system, stopping it from alerting anyone that he had entered the locked facility.

Click here to continue reading.

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CMS releases advance guidance for emergency preparedness rule

(Posted: 06/07/2017)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published an advanced copy of interpretive guidance for its final emergency preparedness rule for healthcare providers.

The rule, issued last September, applies to all healthcare facilities and will be implemented on Nov. 15. Long-term care providers will have to meet additional standards under the rule, such as having emergency and standby power systems. They must also create plans regarding missing residents that could be activated regardless of whether the facility has activated its full emergency plan.

In a memo posted Friday, CMS shared an advanced copy of a new Appendix Z for the State Operations Manual pertaining to emergency preparedness. The advanced copy will “vary slightly” from the final version, CMS said.

The agency had previously urged providers not to put off planning their emergency training exercises until the guidance was released, noting that waiting for the guidance “is not necessary nor is it advised.”

“The interpretive guidelines and survey procedures in this appendix have been developed to support the adoption of a standard all-hazards emergency preparedness program for all certified providers and suppliers while similarly including appropriate adjustments to address the unique differences of the other providers and suppliers and their patients,” the memo reads.

CMS also stressed that successful adoption of the new requirements will allow all types of healthcare providers “to better anticipate and plan for needs, rapidly respond as a facility, as well as integrate with local public health and emergency management agencies and healthcare coalitions' response activities and rapidly recover following the disaster.”

Source: McKnight's

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Gunman in Ohio nursing home shooting had violent record

(Posted: 05/16/2017)

Court records show the man authorities say gunned down an Ohio village police chief and two nursing home employees had a history of violence, including against the nurse who was among the slain.

The suspect, Thomas Hartless, 43, was found dead inside Pine Kirk Care Center.

Nurse Marlina Medrano, 46, nurse's aide Cindy Krantz, 48, and Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, 36, were killed in the Friday attack.

State and local authorities said Saturday the investigation was continuing and they had no new information to release on the deaths in the village of some 500 residents, roughly 25 miles east of Columbus.

Records show Medrano had obtained civil protection orders against Hartless. He was released from jail in April after his latest domestic violence case in March. He also served time for a 2009 abduction of another woman.

"I am afraid to be alone with him, that he will hurt me for good," Medrano wrote in her latest petition in May. The Columbus Dispatch reported that court officials said Friday that protection order was still in effect. Records show Medrano had reported injuries including a concussion and cuts requiring stitches.

The Dispatch reported that she had earlier told police he once showed her a hole he had dug and said he would put her in it if she didn't stay with him. She also told police Hartless "doesn't like police."

Hartless' neighbor, Connie Long, told reporters Medrano had taken shelter in Long's home March 6 after he attacked her. Long had posted a Facebook warning to the community that "a violent man" was loose after Hartless was released only weeks later.

Disario headed the Kirkersville Police Department for only about three weeks, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said. He was the father of six children, with a seventh on the way, the sheriff said.

Residents in the community added to a growing memorial outside the police department Friday night, CBS affiliate WBNS-TV in Columbus reports. Darlene Ruff told the station it was the least she could do.

"He gave his own life to protect everybody and now his kids don't get to see their dad again," she said. "I remember he had given candy to the kids and it was just so sweet because he was new you know so, this is just our gratitude to say thank you for protecting all of us."

Authorities say the gunman had taken two passers-by as hostages in a wooded area behind the nursing home. Disario, responding to a report of a man with a gun, said in his last radio communication that he had the man in sight. The hostages escaped unharmed, as did all 23 residents of the nursing home.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff at all public buildings and grounds throughout Licking County and at the Ohio Statehouse through sunset May 16 to honor the lives lost in "senseless acts of violence" in Kirkersville.

Source: CBS News

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BREAKING | Police officer shot during active shooter situation in Ohio

(Posted: 05/12/2017)

A police officer has been shot during an active shooter situation in Licking County, just east of Columbus.
According to NBC4i, the shooter was reported at the 200 block of E. Main Street at the Pine Kirk Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkersville.
An officer was shot while responding to the active shooter situation. The officer's condition is unknown.
Police say the active shooter situation has been "neutralized," according to NBC4i, though law enforcement will not elaborate on details.
NBC4i is live on scene. Watch video courtesy of them in the player above.
The nearby elementary school has been placed on lockdown, NBC4i reports. According to the Newark Advocate, Southwest Licking Local School District students were on buses when the situation started. Those students were reportedly taken to Watkins Middle School. 
Medical helicopters were called to land at the National Trail Raceway. The Advocate also reports that U.S. 40 is closed in the area and is expected to remain closed for hours.
Click here to continue reading.

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CMS: Don't wait to plan emergency preparedness training exercises

(Posted: 03/29/2017)
Healthcare providers will be expected to meet the training and testing requirements included in the recent emergency preparedness final rule by its implementation date of Nov. 15, 2017, according to recently released guidance.
In a memo published Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encouraged providers to plan “full-scale, community-based” training exercises sooner than later, in order to avoid being cited for non-compliance once the rule is in place. The agency said it had heard that some providers are holding out for the release of interpretive guidance, which “is not necessary nor is it advised.”
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CMS' new emergency preparedness rules

(Posted: 03/17/2017)

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and all other providers who are reimbursed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be required to comply with new emergency preparedness regulations by November 15, 2017. The rules, approved in late 2016, include far more than having an emergency plan written down and stored on a bookshelf.

Evaluating providers for compliance will become part of the survey process, and any non-compliance must be rectified like any other deficiency, noted the Oct. 28, 2016 CMS announcement.

These significant changes in emergency preparedness regulations for CMS-regulated healthcare facilities have been a long time in coming. The highlights of the new regulations can be broken down into four specific areas of compliance that includes the following:

  1. Development of an Emergency Plan based on a risk analysis assessment using an all-hazards approach
  2. Policies and procedures
  3. Communication plan
  4. Training and testing

For the purposes of this article, I will focus on these elements of the new regulations as they pertain to SNFs. For additional clarification, CMS has developed a comprehensive table that further explains the requirements for each of the 17 provider types affected by these regulations.

Click here to continue reading.

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Fourth person dies following fire at Baltimore assisted living facility

(Posted: 03/17/2017)
A fourth person has died following a fire last week at a Northwest Baltimore assisted living facility, city fire officials said Wednesday.
Baltimore fire officials said 13 people have died in fires in the city this year.
Two people were pronounced dead Friday after the one-alarm fire at the Kozy Kottage facility in the 2800 block of Lawina Road. A third person died Saturday, and the fourth died Tuesday, fire officials said.
Seven people were in the home at the time of the fire — six on the first floor and one on the second floor. Six were hospitalized and one declined treatment, fire officials said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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Change One Habit to Change Everything

(Posted: 01/31/2017)

When a new C.E.O. took over a struggling aluminum company, he decided to focus on one surprising habit: worker safety.

Click here to view a short video that helps put "safety" in any type of organization into context.

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Should you allow employees to carry concealed weapons at work?

(Posted: 09/19/2016)

With the continued popularity and demand for our Active Shooter in the Long Term Care Environment training program, I receive calls and emails almost weekly from clients and conference attendees asking about employees who wish to carry a concealed firearm in the workplace. Just about every community and facility that I speak with has some employees with concealed carry permits who are offering to carry a concealed firearm in the workplace in order to respond in the event of an armed intruder. Sadly, there is no right or wrong way to handle these requests. In reality, myriad considerations that must be addressed in choosing the best decisions.

State Statutes
First and foremost, what does your state law allow? For example, in Illinois, Section 65(a)(7) of 430 ILCS 66 (Firearms Concealed Carry Act) reads "a licensee under this act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into any building, real property, and parking area under the control of the public or private hospital or hospital affiliates, mental health facility, or nursing home." However, the Illinois' statute does not prescribe how to address the subject of concealed carry permits in independent living or assisted living communities. And, what happens at a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), where all levels of care are represented on the same campus property? In other states, including Arizona, there are no restrictions for concealed carry in healthcare facilities.

Click here to continue reading.

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CMS finalizes rule to bolster emergency preparedness of certain facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid

(Posted: 09/09/2016)

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies, and establish a more coordinated response to natural and man-made disasters.

Over the past several years, and most recently in Louisiana, a number of natural and man-made disasters have put the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries – and the public at large – at risk. These new requirements will require certain participating providers and suppliers to plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems to ensure that facilities are adequately prepared to meet the needs of their patients during disasters and emergency situations.

Click here to continue reading.

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OSHA fines Home Care Provider $98,000

(Posted: 08/22/2016)

The sexual assault of a home health care worker has resulted in a willful citation against one of the nation's leading providers of pediatric home health and therapy services for medically frail and chronically ill children, after it failed to protect its employees properly from the dangers of workplace violence.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation following a complaint on Feb. 1, 2016, from an employee of AndVenture Inc. who was sexually assaulted by a home care client after the company had been warned by another employee of sexual assaults. AndVenture does business as Epic Health Services and had received numerous reports of verbal, physical and sexual assaults on employees, as well as a report of an employee forced to work in a house in which domestic violence occurred. OSHA cited the company for one willful violation related to employee exposure to workplace violence, including physical and sexual assault.

Click here to continue reading.

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Shot by police, Phoenix-area robbery suspect dies at senior-care center

(Posted: 07/27/2016)

Police in Tempe said a wounded robbery suspect who had been barricaded on the grounds of a senior-care facility Wednesday morning has died.

An officer shot the suspect before he reached the Westchester Senior Living Center, near Rural and Guadalupe roads, during a scuffle at another site.

Police shut down traffic on Rural Road and said the residents had been evacuated.

The facility is next door to a high-traffic strip mall and across the street from an urgent care.

Police said the suspect had been hiding in a storage area.

Click here to continue reading.

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OSHA Penalty Adjustments to Take Effect August 1, 2016

(Posted: 07/25/2016)

In November 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The Department of Labor is adjusting penalties for its agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA's maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78%. Going forward, the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

The new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016. Any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Type of Violation: Serious Other-Than-Serious Posting Requirements

  • Current Maximum Penalty: $7,000 per violation
  • New Maximum Penalty: $12,471 per violation

Type of Violation: Failure to Abate

  • Current Maximum Penalty: $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date
  • New Maximum Penalty: $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date

Type of Violation: Willful or Repeated

  • Current Maximum Penalty: $70,000 per violation
  • New Maximum Penalty: $124,709 per violation

Adjustments to Penalties

To provide guidance to field staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA will issue revisions to its Field Operations Manual by August 1. To address the impact of these penalty increases on smaller businesses, OSHA will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

State Plan States

States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA's.

For More Assistance

There is no better time to make sure your safety management program is compliant. Several of our clients have experienced OSHA inspections in the past few months, and the commonality seems to be that the compliance officers have been very aggressive in looking for violations, ergo monetary citations. The SWA team, which includes former OSHA compliance officers, stands ready to help you assess your program, respond to an inspection, and remediate citations.