Patient Deaths Cited in Settlement with Nursing Homes, Including Wilmington Facility

March 13, 2019 GMT

BOSTON -- Attorney General Maura Healey has reached settlements with seven nursing homes, including the Woodbriar Health Center in Wilmington, that include fines and quality improvement measures after a statewide investigation discovered failings that led to injuries, and in some cases patient deaths.

At the Woodbriar on Christmas 2015, 83-year-old Mary Meuse fell from a mechanical lift and died two days later. Roughly one day and three shifts of nurses passed before Meuse was informed that her legs were fractured and sent to a hospital, according to the state investigation.

“My hope today is that entities operating in the state will live up to expectations of quality of care and quality of life and if they don’t they’ll have to answer to our office,” Healey said.

There are more than 400 nursing homes in Massachusetts operating 45,000 beds, but officials said the industry is facing severe financial and demographic challenges that has led to “cutting corners” and shortages in staffing or substandard training that is affecting the level of care seniors receive.

The nursing homes caught up in the “major and significant statewide investigation” will pay $500,000 in fines that will go into a fund operated by the Department of Public Health to monitor and improve nursing home care.

Besides the Woodbriar, settlements were reached with Oxford Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Haverhill, Jewish Nursing Home of Longmeadow, Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Westborough, Braemoor Health Center in Brockton, Wakefield Center in Wakefield and The Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Everett.

Healey said that Synergy Health Care, which operates the Brockton and Wilmington facilities, will also be barred from doing business in Massachusetts for seven years.

This is a developing story