Diversicare of Nicholasville has received the largest nursing home fine in the nation in recent years, following an outbreak of scabies that went unabated for months, infecting 45 percent of the residents.
The fine of $ 891,350 was levied by the federal government against Diversicare of Nicholasville following a January inspection, according to the Nursing Home Compare web site . The web site lists Diversicare as having the largest fine in the country. Hospital Compare is run by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“It is the most severe fine that I’ve ever seen,” said Brian Lee , executive director of Families For Better Care, a Florida-based non-profit n u rs i n g h o m e advocacy group. “They came down hard on them for this.”
The scabies outbreak was especially egregious, Lee said, because nurses and their supervisors apparently reported the ever-growing number of residents with rashes to the nursing home operators who didn’t act.
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“To have an outbreak like this is one thing, but to ignore the problem is worse than the outbreak,” Lee said.
Asked via email how the scabies outbreak continued unabated for months and what steps Diversicare is taking to prevent future outbreaks, Nick Lamkin, chief risk officer for Diversicare Healthcare Services, provided this written response.
“We, of course, take these allegations seriously. We do not believe the facts support the fine that was assessed, and we are vigorously pursuing an appeal and are confident that we will prevail.”
According to the January inspection report from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, 33 residents in the 73-bed facility were infested with scabies, a human itch mite that burrows into the upper levels of skin and lays eggs. Inspectors traced the original infections to June 2014.
Nearly all of the infested senior citizens were listed as having moderate to severe cognitive impairments. The report details residents whose backs, underarms, groins and necks were infested with scabies.
At least one resident had to be hospitalized because of scabies. Five developed skin-related bacterial infections. Many had been identified as having a rash but received no treatment until after the inspection, which was in response to a complaint.
Inspectors found that Diversicare of Nicholasville failed to wash linens and disinfect patient rooms and furniture to keep the original outbreak contained.
According to the Diversicare website, the company operates 11 other facilities in Kentucky for a total of 52 in the United States.
Kentucky nursing facilities with large fines
There are five Kentucky nursing homes among the top 20 facilities listed on Hospital Compare as having the largest fines. The site was last updated July 1. The sites are:
Diversicare of Nicholasville , $891,730
Somerwoods Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Somerset , $563,940
Brownsboro Hills Health Care and Rehabilitation Center. $500,000
NHC Healthcare, Glasgow, $436,050
Masonic Home of Louisville, $413,173
What is scabies?
Scabies is an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis). The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and pimple-like skin rash.
How is scabies spread?
The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. People with crusted scabies can be infested with thousands of mites and should be considered highly contagious. Scabies in adults frequently is sexually acquired. Scabies sometimes is spread indirectly by sharing clothing, towels or bedding. Such indirect spread can occur much more easily when the infested person has crusted scabies.
SOURCE: CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION