Bon Secours Maria Manor, Heather Hill nursing homes make progress

Bon Secours Maria Manor in St. Petersburg is one of the largest nursing homes in Pinellas County and used to be top-rated.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times (2009)

Bon Secours Maria Manor in St. Petersburg is one of the largest nursing homes in Pinellas County and used to be top-rated.

A well-known St. Petersburg nursing home has taken a key step toward coming off a federal list of the worst facilities in the country.

Bon Secours Maria Manor was recently placed into a category of homes that are "improving," and could come off the federal list in about a year if it continues to do so. Last year, federal and state health officials designated Bon Secours a "special focus facility," citing the home's recent history of serious quality issues. The classification can cost a home its Medicare and Medicaid credentials if it doesn't turn things around within two years.

Another area home on the federal list, Heather Hill in New Port Richey, is making similar improvement and on track to come off the federal list as well.

Bon Secours and Heather Hill were found to have shown significant improvement, which means that the homes' most recent surveys found no deficiencies in which there was actual or potential harm to any resident.

From there, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services waits to see if that improvement continues for about 12 months before deciding whether the homes "graduate" from the federal list.

"We are clearly pleased with the result, and with the result of the recent survey," Karen Reich, executive vice president of Bon Secours St. Petersburg, said last week.

Bon Secours and Heather Hill are two of five Florida homes on the list, and among about 130 nationwide. The other three Florida homes on the list are in Tallahassee, Green Cove Springs and Titusville. A nursing home in Jacksonville recently came off the list.

For Bon Secours, placement on the federal list was particularly surprising. The nursing home is one of the largest in Pinellas County, with 274 licensed beds, and was once a top-rated, five-star facility. But recent surveys found that the home had more numerous and serious problems than other nursing homes.

Some of the most significant problems involved the home's handling of a 2008 incident involving an 86-year-old resident who told nursing staff she felt she was violated after a male nurse placed his hand in her vaginal area. The nurse said he was checking her for a urinary tract infection. Among other things, inspectors faulted the home for not immediately reporting an allegation of sexual abuse.

Reich said the home took immediate steps to address the deficiencies, such as retraining staff members in the proper procedures of reporting sexual abuse allegations.

Richard Martin can be reached at rmartin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8330.

Bon Secours Maria Manor, Heather Hill nursing homes make progress 02/07/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2010 7:56am]

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