Destin nursing home license suspended by the State, must discharge 100-plus residents

On April 16th, 2022, the State of Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration suspended the nursing home license of Destin Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, located at 195 Mattie M Kelly Blvd.

  • The suspension comes due to alleged staffing shortages being the cause of egregious violations of state law regarding minimum patient care.
  • Florida law requires nursing facilities that fail to meet minimum staffing requirements for 2 consecutive days to not accept new admissions.
  • The state alleges that the nursing home accepted 57 new residents in 63 days, without informing them of staffing issues.

In a 17-page Emergency Order revoking the facility’s ability to admit new patients, the Deputy Secretary of the FL AHA alleges that the facility has been operating with dangerously low staff levels for at least the past several months.

  • The EO states that this can create “unsafe conditions and deficient work practices” which can place patients “at risk of living in an environment ill-equipped to provide for resident health, safety and welfare.”

The state’s investigation, conducted on April 10th, concluded that all of the facility’s residents were at immediate risk due to the short staffing of nurses and certified nurse assistants (CNA).

  • The Facility failed to meet minimum state staffing guidelines for 58 out of the 63 days reviewed, according to the order.

Multiple staff interviews revealed that staff has been working extra shifts frequently and have very heavy patient assignments during work.

Resident interviews revealed allegations that included inconsistent, or completely absent, rehabilitation care for patients, and the neglect or absence of bathing/grooming regimens.

One resident stated that “she did not remember when she had a bath last,” and added that she laid in urine for 16 hours one day.

  • “There was only one CNA for 60 residents last Saturday,” stated another resident. “I’ve waited for two hours for my call light to be answered and have laid in feces for 4 hours in the recent past, although I’m luckily don’t have any skin breakdown yet.”

Residents have alleged multiple failures of minimum care as the lack of staffing creates situations where residents have tried calling family members to receive baths and clean up their urine/feces. Many residents have been hesitant to call for assistance from employees because “the staff are working so hard.”

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Get The Coast’s Legal and Political Correspondent, Parker Destin, broke the story after being contacted by a facility resident.

“If it is as bad as has been alleged, then this facility is the nightmare that many other nursing/rehab facilities may be experiencing at the intersection of recent pandemic work shortages and the for-profit business model in healthcare,” stated Destin. “The State alleges that the staff present in the facility are trying to perform their duties as competently as possible, but that the levels of staff to the number of patients is creating this environment of dangerous neglect.”

According to Destin, the State alleges that the facility’s local administrators have been repeatedly informing their corporate management of the facility’s inadequate staff levels for some time now, but the legislative moratorium on new admissions was repeatedly ignored by corporate.

  • “When people are the product in for-profit business models, whether it be in nursing homes, prisons, or education, there is always a potential for neglect, deferred maintenance, and failures to meet minimum standards of service/care to be ignored in order to protect profits and it’s the people who suffer,” said Destin.

The State is implying that Destin Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has been choosing to stay open and admit patients to keep cash flowing instead of lowering the total number of patients until it could recruit more staff, according to Destin.

“My worry is this scenario is playing out all over Florida given our healthcare provider shortages and large elderly population,” stated Destin.

The Executive Order alleges that “corporate management weighed their concerns and consciously decided to place financial issues above resident care.” It goes on to say that the at the very least, the response of the nursing home should have been to hire temporary staffing services to alleviate the immediate staffing shortcomings.

  • The nursing home’s Administrator told investigators that they were attempting to hire people but weren’t getting applications.
  • Their website lists 14 jobs openings as of this writing.
  • Starting pay is up to $18/hour, per the report.
  • However, there are sign-on bonuses and gas money being offered as of April 13th.

Destin Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center’s license is suspended effected April 25, 2022 at 5pm. It will be required to safely discharge the nursing home residents, notifying any guardians and family members that are responsible for the residents.

  • However, it will have 30 days to appeal the Emergency Order per FL Statute.

To read the Emergency Order and alleged violations in their entirety, click here.

Destin Rehab had not responded for comment to this article by the time of publication.       

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