State health authorities have moved to revoke the license of a southwest suburban nursing home part-owned by state Sen. Heather Steans because of repeated citations for serious patient neglect.
Steans does not have any operational role in the facility, Evergreen Health Care Center in Evergreen Park, and the Chicago Democrat said she has drawn little or no income from what she described as her small ownership stake in companies that manage the home.
The revocation notice was sent Friday to Evergreen, a state Department of Public Health spokeswoman said. Steans and a facility executive said they were unaware of the revocation action.
Under state rules, the facility can voluntarily surrender its license or contest the revocation and request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Evergreen also was recently added to a federal watch list for the nation's most troubled nursing homes following inspections that cited numerous safety breaches. Steans called those infractions "incredibly troubling" but said the facility had "taken corrective action."
"Those problems were identified and the changes were made," Steans said, adding that the facility now has a new administrator and director of nursing. "They have cleared all of the issues that were found."
Still, the mounting government actions could represent a political embarrassment for Steans because she recently spearheaded comprehensive reform legislation to improve safety and care standards at nursing homes statewide.
"I think I have a pretty strong record," Steans responded. "It is clear that I have always been advocating on behalf of nursing home residents to reform the industry."
Michelle Pardun, vice president of business development for the firm that manages Evergreen, said the facility provides high-quality, short-term care to patients with complex ailments. But recent inspection reports reveal a litany of grave lapses at the home since last year.
State health officials cited Evergreen after facility staff failed to notify a doctor as the health of a 90-year-old resident with pneumonia deteriorated in January 2009. "This failure resulted in the resident being transferred to the hospital in full respiratory arrest ... and then dying at the hospital," a state health department report said.
In August 2009, Evergreen failed to prevent maggots from infecting the scalp wound of an 86-year-old skin cancer victim, inspectors found. The wheelchair-bound woman's head was bandaged, but a nurse said that when she and two aides removed the dressing, the patient's "entire head was infected. ... The maggots (were) falling out."
And in December, an 83-year-old woman with deep-vein blood clots went into cardiac arrest and later died after the nursing home failed to properly administer a blood-thinning medicine or notify her doctor of abnormal laboratory results, according to Elizabeth Surgener, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Six other revocation actions are currently pending, according to the state health department. According to a state spokeswoman, the Chicago and suburban facilities include Columbus Manor Residential Care Home in the Austin neighborhood, Rainbow Beach Care Center in the South Shore neighborhood, Regal Health and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Lawn and Fox River Pavilion in Aurora.
Somerset Place in Uptown was shuttered in March after receiving a similar revocation notice.
Another nursing home, South Shore Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, also was recently added to the federal watch list due in part to its alleged failure to supervise residents, including one dementia patient who last year hit two other residents, sending one to an emergency room for evaluation. There are a total of five Illinois facilities on the federal list.
Steans said her interest in the nursing home stems from investments by her father, financier Harrison Steans, the former chairman of LaSalle National Bank.
On her financial disclosure statements, Steans declared a membership interest in two firms that last year drew $2 million in management and lease fees from Evergreen. Steans said none of that money was paid out to owners. Evergreen last year reported $361,000 in profits on total revenues of roughly $19 million.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times