Colonial Hills Nursing Center target of lawsuits
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Not long after closing its doors earlier this year, the Colonial Hills Nursing Center is now the target of several lawsuits that have been filed in Blount County Circuit Court.
The facility, located at 2034 Cochran Road in Maryville, is scheduled to reopen next spring if various issues can be worked out.
The following lawsuits were recently filed against the nursing home, and are currently pending:
• Lisa Lowe, executive of the estate of James Clyde Johnson, deceased, vs. Colonial Hills Nursing Center, Colonial Development Inc., Colonial Hills Real Estate Investors LLC, Life Care Management LLC and Life Care Centers of America Inc., damages
The suit claims that on July 16. 2007, James Clyde Johnson was admitted to Colonial Hills Nursing Center. He did not receive appropriate medical care, food, water and basic care. His medications and treatments were not administered as ordered by her physicians.
• Susan M. Harris, administrator ad litem of the estate of Bettye G. Martin, deceased, and on behalf of the wrongful death beneficiaries of Bettye G. Martin vs. Colonial Development Inc. d/b/a Colonial Hills Nursing Center and Life Care Centers of America Inc., damages
Martin was a resident at the nursing home from March 14, 2008, until she died on Feb. 23, 2011. She was unable to take care of herself or attend to her affairs throughout her residency. She suffered injuries and harm, including but not limited to the following: dehydration, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sepsis, MRSA, thrush, pressure sores, poor hygiene, severe pain and death. The lawsuit is a claim for ordinary negligence.
• Charlotte Ann Jensen as next friend, natural daughter and attorney-in-fact of Zelma Lou Gibson vs. Colonial Hills Nursing Center, Colonial Development Inc., Colonial Hills Real Estate Investors, LLC, Life Care Management LLC and Life Care Centers of America, Inc., damages
Gibson was admitted to the nursing home on Sept. 26. 2010. According to the lawsuit, she suffered a very substantial wound on her left extremity, which turned out to be a decubitus ulcer. During her tenure, the ulcer worsened and degenerated due to failures of ordinary care and services expected of a proper long-term care facility.
On Dec. 20, 2010, Gibson was transferred to Blount Memorial Hospital where the results from and findings of her hospital admission should have alerted the nursing home to provide proper nursing care, but they failed to do so and Gibson continued to deteriorate physically and mentally as a proximate result of failures of ordinary care, the lawsuit said.
The owners of the nursing home are intending to apply for a certificate of need to allow for a $15 million renovation and to reopen the Maryville nursing home that was closed following termination of its Medicare and Medicaid provider agreement.
Life Care Centers of America, the Cleveland-based corporate owner of Colonial Hills, was notified on Dec. 22 last year that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was terminating the facility’s provider agreement.
The nursing home was ordered to move all Medicare/Medicaid residents from the facility in February. About 100 of an estimated 164 residents had to be moved. The owner decided to also move all private-care residents and to close the facility.
Colonial Hills was closed on Jan. 20 after the last two residents were transferred to other locations.
The residents were moved to more than 20 nursing centers and assisted living facilities, and some residents returned to their homes.
The nursing home was previously licensed for 203 beds. The certificate of need to renovate the facility will request the number of licensed beds be reduced from 203 to 120.
The number of private rooms would be increased from 23 to 90 as a result of the project.
Prior to the termination of the nursing home’s provider agreement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Tennessee Department of Health penalized Colonial Hills twice last year for violations found after complaints were filed. Penalties involved state and federal civil fines and suspensions of new admissions.
At a meeting earlier this year with residents and family members, Vincent Davis, director of Health Care Facilities for the Tennessee Department of Health, outlined problems that led to the dissolving of the provider agreement.
State officials said the corporate owner of Colonial Hills had been given chances to remedy the numerous deficiencies, but failed to solve some big issues.
Officials with Life Care Centers of America did not return a phone call seeking comment.