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Winchester nursing home to lose funding

A Winchester nursing home has received a Type A citation, the most serious citation the state can give, for alleged abuse and neglect, and the federal government has said it will terminate its Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Beth Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, confirmed that Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation, a 183-bed facility with a special unit for patients with dementia, received the citation.

Fisher said she could not elaborate on why the facility was cited.

But Kathy Gannoe, executive director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass, said officials at the Winchester facility told her that they had a problem with "medical errors" and that those problems had been corrected.

Officials with Louisville-based Kindred Healthcare, which owns the Winchester nursing home, did not return telephone calls requesting information.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has sent the nursing home notice that it will terminate its contract Feb. 7, Fisher said.

That means the nursing home will no longer be certified to provide care to people who receive Medicare and Medicaid. Patients living in a home at the time of the termination are transferred to facilities that are certified by the federal centers.

That can result in a nursing home closing, but it was unclear Tuesday what will happen to the Winchester facility.

Gannoe said that her agency received 31 complaints about Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation during the past three months, and that 86 percent of the complaints had been resolved to the satisfaction of the person making them.

Under federal regulations, nursing homes have to meet standards ranging from the safe storage and preparation of food to protecting residents from physical or mental abuse or inadequate practices. If a nursing home does not correct its problems, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services terminates its agreement with the nursing home.

Gannoe said that on Monday, 166 residents were living at the home.

There are alternatives to shutting nursing homes down and moving patients to new facilities far away from their families, she said. Those include bringing in a new group of professionals to run the facility and levying daily fines until the problems are corrected.

Gannoe said she hopes that the facility can remain open after correcting the problems that led to the state and federal findings.

For various reasons, she said, Central Kentucky already has lost 400 nursing home beds for Medicaid patients.

The closing of another facility would be "a very serious problem for consumers," Gannoe said. "It's a disaster for Central Kentucky."