Elderly Mistreated as MILLIONS of $$$$$ are Stocked Away?
By HEIDI EVANS
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
A State Health Department inspection of Ruby Weston's Marcus Garvey Nursing Home has found serious flaws at the Crown Heights, Brooklyn, facility, including a chronic failure to tend to many patients' basic needs.
One man was found sitting in urine-soaked clothes for nearly an hour. He wasn't changed until a health inspector intervened.
The state's 50-page report, obtained by the Daily News, paints a picture of an administration with little regard for the care and dignity of many of the home's 255 residents, most of whom are poor and frail.
In addition to citing the home for unpalatable food and poor communication among the staff, the report says a licensed practical nurse was seen cleaning an elderly woman's wounds despite her crying out in pain, and three instances of verbal abuse by staffers were observed.
The 16 areas of deficiencies reported at the Brooklyn home are almost double the number state inspectors found during their annual survey of Marcus Garvey in March 2004 - and four times the average found at homes statewide.
"There are a lot of problems in nursing homes in New York, but the widespread neglect and abuse cited in this inspection report is outrageous," said Richard Mollet, associate director for the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a watchdog group. "You wouldn't want your relatives treated this way."
A public relations firm hired by Weston called the deficiencies "isolated" and said a new administrator has been hired.
"The Board of Directors at Marcus Garvey Nursing Home is confident that it has systems and programs in place to address the issues identified by the state and to ensure that all residents receive quality and compassionate care," said spokeswoman Colleen Roche.
The 295-bed facility is headed by Ruby Weston, a 78-year-old grandmother who has enriched herself and her family with millions of Medicaid dollars that flow through the home. She has also socked away $21 million in Medicaid payments into a Marcus Garvey savings account, money that critics say should be spent on patient care and additional staff.
The Health Department's report comes at a sensitive time for Weston. She is under investigation by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for alleged financial wrongdoing and violations of not-for-profit laws at both Marcus Garvey and Ruby Weston Manor, a 280-bed facility she runs in East New York, Brooklyn.
Investigators are looking into Daily News revelations of Weston's eye-popping $600,000 salary and perks, and rampant hiring of relatives and friends. She also put her longtime lover in as board chairman, which gave her free reign over millions of taxpayer dollars earmarked for the nearly 600 elderly in her care.
Weston, well-known in Brooklyn's Caribbean community, and the homes' boards of directors face possible removal depending on Spitzer's findings, expected next month......
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