SYRACUSE, N.Y. –The raid of a Syracuse nursing home Tuesday by criminal investigators could be unprecedented in New York state, according to an expert on nursing home care.
Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, said he’d never heard of a search warrant being executed at a nursing home in New York in his 15 years with the watchdog agency.
Dozens of armed investigators from the state attorney general’s office started executing a search warrant at James Square Health and Rehabilitation Centre on Tuesday morning.
They were still searching the facility’s offices by 4 p.m. The raid was part of an investigation into patient care, an AG’s spokeswoman said.
“To me, it would indicate this is pretty serious,” said Mollot, whose office is in New York City.
It’s especially disconcerting because the number of deficiencies state health inspectors found at James Square in January was more than four times the state average, he said.
James Square, at 918 James St., had 27 deficiencies compared to the state average of 5.7.
Its reported staffing levels were “abysmal,” Mollot said. The average time a registered nurse spent per resident per day was 43 minutes, he said. The state average is 97 minutes.
The state inspection in January cited James Square for violations such as failing to assist residents who needed help eating, failing to ensure that residents were safe from serious medication errors, and failing to properly care for people needing injections, colostomy care and other special needs, according a state report.
James Square received the lowest rating — one star — in the most recent ratings by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The best nursing homes get five stars.
“That means it’s the bottom of the barrel,” Mollot said.
The administrator of James Square has not responded to a request for an interview.