As the Santa Fe New Mexican reports today, Cathedral Rock Corporation recently paid $4000 in fines as part of a settlement agreement with the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department.
In December 2009, Cathedral Rock was issued a notice of violation after concerns raised by the state's Long-Term Care Ombudsman involving the Sunshine Haven and Silver City Care Centers. The violation stemmed from the nursing home's plan for inappropriate resident transfers and discharge, but also involved misinformation conveyed to nursing home employees about the ombudsman's involvement and approval of the plan.
Disturbingly, once the ombudsman's office was actually involved, and stopped the planned, improper transfer, Cathedral Rock senior staff criticized the ombudsman's office and also publicly criticized the staff who were thought to have contacted the ombudsman.
Under New Mexico law, ombudsmen have both the right and the duty to investigate any claims of nursing home resident abuse or neglect. It is not proper for a nursing home to interfere with their right of access, or to retaliate against staff or residents for contacting the ombudsman's office. The law specifically states that "No person shall institute discriminatory, disciplinary or retaliatory action against any resident, employee or other person for filing a complaint, providing information to or otherwise cooperating with a representative of the [ombudsman's] office."
In addition to the fine, as part of the settlement, Cathedral Rock issued an apology to its staff for its "inappropriate and unprofessional behavior."
We reported earlier this year on the penalties imposed on Cathedral Rock for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and about the cases pending against the Cathedral Rock nursing homes in Santa Fe. Cathedral Rock operates 10 nursing homes in New Mexico:
Santa Fe Care Center
Casa Real (Santa Fe)
Sunshine Haven (Lordsburg)
Silver City Care Center
Bloomfield Nursing and Rehab
Clayton Nursing and Rehab
Espanola Valley Nursing and Rehab
Red Rocks Care Center (Gallup)
Raton Nursing and Rehab
Country Cottage Care and Rehab (Hobbs)