Straight Up with Sherri

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Elderly Mistreated as MILLIONS of $$$$$ are Stocked Away?

Neglect found at Ruby homes

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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5 Comments:

  • Back when I was a little kid, in the 1950s and early '60s, there really wasn't much in the way of nursing homes. Back then, it was the orphanages that were under criticism for exactly the same problems. The biggest difference was that the victims of those institutions survived long enough to shut most of them down! These victims die!

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 9:17 PM  

  • Although this is a terrible situation, I'm not surprised that these sort of things occur. I believe that this sort of behavior continues for so long because these elderly citizens rarely recieve visitors. Something needs to be done about this. Just think, it could happen to one of our grandparents. How would we feel then?
    CM2056

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 PM  

  • I represent nursing homes who have been accused of such things by State Survey Agencies. I would caution you against believing everything you read in this story--as it appears to be based solely on claims by the state surveyors.

    I am often able to demonstrate to the higher-ups that these survey reports are a big bunch of out of context b.s..

    By Blogger Sue Bob, at 10:20 PM  

  • TB9131
    It's funny Sue Bob that you would caution us to be hestitant about what we read. I have never worked in a nursing home or been to one. But I would pose this question to you, would you let one of your loved one's live in a nursing home? I am not saying that all nursing homes or even half of them are terrible, but I do believe that people take advantage of the elderly because there is no one to protect them. You may be right in saying that alot of these stories are based soley on the state surveyors, but there at least would be some truth to some of it. It can't all be possibly made up. My thing is just the little that may be true is to much.
    TB9131

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 PM  

  • I agree; we should not bypass this issue or say that it is rare or unbelievable. The elderly are an easy target and irresponsible low lives will not miss a chance to harm them. We as citizen must protect the elderly for they are the most vulnerable. We must hold these nursing homes accountable and persecute these reckless care givers to the fullest.

    By Blogger BF7193, at 6:41 PM  

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