Assisted Living Facility Receives Heavy Fine for Medication Errors

An assisted living facility with a long history of medication errors and other care violations received a maximum fine recently from state inspectors.  The facility also faces possible loss of its license.  The fine was imposed following a state  investigation that revealed a patient of the facility was deprived of Coumadin, a medicine that helps prevent blood clots, for two weeks.  According to the hospital where the man was later treated, the medication error placed the man "at risk for serious physical harm or death."  The facility explained it withheld the man's medication because it wasn't sure it would get paid for it.    

The facility was no stranger to medication problems -- it was cited for medication problems in September 2005, January 2006, April 2006, and August 2006.  The state twice banned new admissions in 2006, but the facility corrected the problems and the bans were lifted.  In its investigation of the Coumadin errors, the state found instances in which three other patients weren't provided with prescribed medications.  The facility's overall medication error rate was reported to be 28 percent.  Read more about the investigation.   

A 28 percent medication error rate?!?  That means the facility didn't get it right more than once out of every four times it was to give a medicine.  An error rate of 5 percent reflects severe and systemic medication administration issues.  Based on its  history of medication problems, those problems weren't ever "corrected."  The state's bans on new admissions clearly didn't get the facility's attention.  It's time for the state to yank the facility's license and shutter its doors before lives are lost.

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