ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg nursing home avoided an effective closure last week when a federal judge granted it a restraining order against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A notice of involuntary termination was sent to the owner of the Rehabilitation Center of Saint Petersburg, after federal inspectors saw violations in July that they said warranted suspension of Medicare and Medicaid provider statuses. "Conditions in your facility also constituted immediate jeopardy to residents' health and safety and substandard quality of care," it said.
In a summons for a temporary restraining order filed in federal court, Bayou Shores SNF, LLC, the facility's owner, said the violations centered on three patients. One wandered away from the rehabilitation center and was brought back, while two others' records didn't properly document efforts to prevent their "exit seeking behavior."
"We recognize the facility has had some issues; however, we have promptly corrected all of the issues that were noted and the facility is now in compliance," spokeswoman Tracy Johnson said.
The center, at 435 42nd Ave. S, houses 129 residents, 109 of whom are Medicaid patients and 15 of whom are Medicare patients, according to the injunction. Many suffer from psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders, according to the complaint. Revoking provider status would force those residents to move and cut off funding, effectively shuttering the facility.
The Rehabilitation Center of Saint Petersburg was also fined $3,050 a day beginning June 21.
The complaint alleges that closing the home and moving its residents would cause more harm than good. It states that the center took steps to correct the alleged violations, including hiring a consulting firm to achieve compliance.
A federal judge in Tampa granted the request for a temporary restraining order last week. She also referred the motion for injunctive relief to a U.S. magistrate judge.
Until Aug. 15, Rehabilitation Center of Saint Petersburg's Medicare and Medicaid provider agreements cannot be revoked.
After that, Johnson said, the facility's future remains uncertain.
Contact Claire Wiseman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8804. Follow @clairelwiseman.