HUDSON — A problem at a nursing home that state officials said put patients in "immediate jeopardy" stemmed from a dishwasher that one day wasn't working quite up to par, the administrator said Wednesday.
"It's much ado about a dishwasher," said David Cross, administrator for Bayonet Point Health and Rehabilitation Center, which was put on notice last week that it could lose its ability to care for Medicare and Medicaid patients if provisions were not made to correct the matter by Friday.
Cross said the center has filed the required correction plan with the state and plans to appeal the characterization of the deficiency as being one that posed an immediate danger. A hearing date has been set for Tuesday, he said.
"We think that was overstated to say we put patients at risk for food-borne illnesses," he said.
State officials said last week they would not discuss details while the case was pending. Shelisha Durden, spokeswoman for the state Agency for Heath Care Administration, said the correction plan remains under review. It must be approved for the Medicare/Medicaid certification to remain in place.
According to the rules, dishwater should be heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit during the wash cycle and 180 degrees during the rinse cycle. On the day the inspectors took the information, the temperature was about 5 to 10 degrees lower during the wash cycle, Cross said.
He said the center has a protocol to deal with that situation, which includes washing dishes in a three-compartment sink and chemically sanitizing them, as well as using disposable plates.
Cross said the center has since replaced the dishwasher.
He said the dishwater temperature was the only problem officials cited in the Jan. 4 inspection.
"Other than that, they had no issues," he said. "It was a really good survey."
Cross said families of patients at the 180-bed center, which has been open nearly a quarter century, have been supportive.
"They know what's going on," he said.
The home has received an overall two of five possible stars in the Medicare rating system, according to the Medicare Web site. A two-star rating means a center is below average. A five-star rating means it is much above average.
The last federal routine inspection report of Bayonet Point posted online was on Dec. 18, 2008. Records showed 14 violations, five more than the average in Florida facilities and six more than the national average. All were corrected in a month.
In other ratings, the center received four stars for staffing levels. It received its lowest rating, one star, for quality measures. Most of the problems involved high numbers of patients with bedsores when compared with state and national averages.
Cross said that statistic might be misleading because the center specializes in wound care and may get more severe cases.
"That's one of our areas of expertise," he said.
State records show the center received an overall rating of two stars. That means it ranked better than 21 to 40 percent of other facilities in the region.
Lisa Buie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4604.