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State takes over Westview

Staff writer

Operation of Westview Manor in Peabody was taken over Dec. 12 by Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services after the state agency petitioned the court for an immediate order putting them in charge.

KDADS also filed a petition seeking to hold Westview in receivership until all issues are resolved. State law requires that petition to be heard within seven to 17 days. It is scheduled for hearing Dec. 27.

KDADS’ petition is filed against Franklin Healthcare of Peabody doing business a Westview Manor, Altacare Corp., Peabody Associates, and Altacare owners Douglas Mittleider and Julie Mittleider.

Court documents list numerous incidents of exploitation, fiduciary abuse, misappropriation of resident property, failure to ensure safekeeping of residents’ narcotics, failure to maintain a safe and home-like environment, and more than $240,755 owed in unpaid vendor bills more than 120 days past due.

Angela deRocha, KDADS director of communication, said the state has stepped in to stabilize the facility to ensure the staff continues to be paid and residents get the care they need.

Eventually, the facility will be turned over to someone who will operate it in a stable manner, DeRocha said. That can take two weeks to a year.

According to the petition, KDADS performed a complaint-based survey of the facility Nov. 27.

Among the specific problems noted, 16 of the facility’s 38 residents had negative financial balances during the time period of Jan. 1 to Nov. 27. The negative balances ranged from $1.94 to $1,094.46. A staff member told the surveyor repeated attempts were made to review and reconcile patient accounts with the corporate office, but the attempts were unsuccessful.

One patient was missing 119 hydrocodone tablets. Also, the facility does not document disposal of discontinued narcotics.

The petition lists light fixtures not functioning, a wall with exposed wires, broken and cracked floor tiles, and an unsightly and soiled old nurses’ station area.

A toilet door in a women’s shower room was tied closed with a plastic bag and the toilet emitted a foul odor, the inspector reported. Staff said the toilet had not worked properly in months, and that many other toilets needed repairs but there was no money available for replacement parts.

A black substance measuring 3 feet by 1 inch was found in the women’s shower.

Only one cleaning supply vendor still accepted orders and another had discontinued service due to nonpayment. A food vendor, owed $12,705, now only accepts orders for payment upon delivery.

Westview was behind on payments to a nursing supply vendor and a staffing agency.

“As of Nov. 30, the facility had a balance of $240,755.29 in outstanding bills more than 120 past due,” the petition reads.

A staff member said their payroll check bounced twice.

Two lawyers, Cynthia J. Sheppeard and Samuel Feather, both with the Topeka law firm Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds and Palmer entered appearances for all defendants Friday. Neither could be reached for comment.

County appraiser’s office records list the Westview Manor building as owned by Peabody Associates.

Westview is not the first Altacare facility taken over by the state. KDADS took over Great Bend Health and Rehab Center, the only other Kansas facility operated by the company, on July 11. DeRocha said the corporation did not fight having the Great Bend facility put into receivership and stabilization is still in progress.

A year and a half ago, the Kansas Attorney General’s office seized patient care records from Pinecrest Nursing Home in Humboldt, which had been shut down by Altacare but still had patient records stored in the empty building.

Medicare’s Nursing Care Compare website rates Westview Manor as much above average in quality measures, average in staffing, below average in overall rating, and much below average in health inspections.

According to Bloomberg, Altacare, incorporated in Alpharetta, Georgia in 2003, manages long-term care nursing facilities in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Justia, a legal information website, lists 21 lawsuits filed against Altacare in federal and state courts, arising from contract, injury, civil rights, labor, and other issues.

Last modified Dec. 20, 2018

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