By Louie Graves
Following a report from the nursing home staff that there was inadequate food for residents, the Arkansas Department of Human Services last week asked for, and got, appointed temporary receiver for Dierks Health and Rehab, a 70-bed nursing facility located in Dierks.
Friday, May 4, the state DHS filed the complaint and asked to be named receiver. Later in the day, the temporary order granting the request was signed by Circuit Judge Charles Yeargan.
DHS will be the receiver for 60 days, and that length can be extended to 90 days if needed.
The nursing home is required by Medicare, Medicaid and Arkansas’s Office of Long Term Care to maintain adequate staffing levels and to provide for “proper and individualized nutritional needs for each facility resident.”
According to the DHS filing, there are approximately 53 elderly, frail, infirm or ailing residents of the facility.
The landlord of the building was notified by nursing home staff that there was insufficient food and that food service providers were balking at future deliveries.
The current owner of the nursing home is JS Arkansas Five Healthcare LLC, owned by an individual named Joseph Schwartz who is also the primary owner of 20 other longterm care facilities in Arkansas through various corporations including Skyline Healthcare.
The DHS sought similar action for a Skyline facility in Hazen, Ark.
Other Schwartz facilities
in several other states are reportedly objects of similar complaints.
The Dierks building is owned by Reliance Healthcare. Dierks nursing home employees apparently alerted Reliance of the food shortage.
A subsequent inspection by surveyor supervisor Dianne Fish of the DHS Office of Long Term Care reported that there was sufficient canned food but insufficient amounts of fresh food. Fish’s report noted that Skyline had notified the Dierks administrator that none of the Skyline facilities in Arkansas would receive food delivery for the coming week.
Fish wrote: “These circumstances present an unconscionable and substantial violation” ….. placing the residents in immediate and imminent danger.
Late in the afternoon Judge Yeargan signed the order naming DHS as emergency receiver because “the facility appears to be financially unable or unwilling to secure or maintain continuing source of food and maintain the staff and other elements of the operation for the safety, security and welfare of the residents.”
One other Howard County nursing home — Mine Creek Health and Rehab — is owned by Skyline.