Three Midlands nursing homes paid over $500,000 in federal fines - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Three Midlands nursing homes paid over $500,000 in federal fines

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As our investigation into nursing homes across the Palmetto State continues, we found the three homes with the highest fines of any other nursing home in the Midlands.

First, there's Sumter Valley Nursing and Rehab. The home paid out $153,034 in federal fines since 2010.

Home Administrator Matt McCollum says the facility has changed owners twice since 2010.

"I don't even know who that company was," said McCollum as we showed up to ask him questions about the fines. "I wasn't here. I have no idea."

In 2011, inspectors found staff serving residents cold meals with some waiting and watching others eat for up to an hour before being served, failing to provide necessary care and services, and failing to prevent or heal bed sores.

McCollum says they've come a long way since then.  

"The place was rough, that's why they came back," said McCollum. "I don't know. I wasn't here then."

However, McCollum was the administrator when inspectors wrote up his facility last September. Inspection reports show staffers took three and a half days to report neglect allegations with bed sores.

McCollum blames a previous employee.

"All it was, all based on a prior employee's knowledge base," said McCollum.

Records show the facility has improved under McCollum's watch in the last three years. It's still rated a "below average" nursing home with "much below average" health inspections, but the number of violations have improved from 17 to 5.

In a statement released to WIS, McCollum says he cannot release any information about previous residents due to HIPAA laws.

"We are committed to providing compassionate services to those who have entrusted us with their care, and the comfort and care of our residents is always our first priority," said the statement.

Moving along, we took a look at the records of Unihealth Post-Acute Care in Columbia.

Between 2010 and 2011, inspection records show the home paid $110,468 in fines after inspectors found a list of problems. Those records also showed Crystal Pavlick as the home's administrator.

Pavlick did not want to discuss the home with us when we visited.

Federal inspectors wrote the home up for wheeling a female resident wrapped in a sheet from the shower past the dining hall, past the nurses station, and past multiple other rooms -- a violation of the patient's dignity and respect.

Inspectors found flies in the kitchen, dirty utensils mixed with clean ones, three barrels overflowing with contaminated waste, and malfunctions in the patient emergency call system.

The most recent report shows the home is still three times above the state average in health deficiencies.

The home hired a maintenance manager two months ago after inspectors found problems that impact quality of life there. Jerry Archie approached us outside the home, asking about our investigation. We told him about the maintenance issues inspectors found, months before he was hired.

"None of that stuff is there now, I can tell you that," said Archie.

There is still one more home in the Midlands that has the highest amount of fines in the area. In 2011, the federal government hit Magnolia Manor with $270,908 in fines.

We spoke with Magnolia Manor Administrator Spencer Parker about the reports. He took over the facility just seven months ago.

During a June 2011 inspection, the feds found records that staff delayed a sex assault investigation by 24 hours, which made collecting evidence at SLED nearly impossible. The suspect was a male resident, who records show was a registered sex offender.

Two people died there, one after a patient's breathing tube collapsed. Medical staff didn't have emergency supplies available and weren't trained to handle it. A second person died after reports show the resident suffered weight loss, dehydration, and heat exhaustion.

Before Parker took over, the home's health deficiencies were twice as bad as the state average.

Parker says, he's made changes and is currently in full compliance.

"What I'm trying to say is, there has to have been change and things have to be better or else we wouldn't be here having this conversation," said Parker.

Magnolia Manor also released a statement to us, saying they "take the state's concerns very seriously and worked quickly to implement a corrective action plan."

"This action plan was accepted by the state and each of the issues identified by surveyors has been fully addressed," said the statement.

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