Local News

Britthaven Of Raleigh Under Fire For Not Taking Care Of Its Residents

Posted November 9, 2001 6:13 a.m. EST

— On Nov. 1, the state Division of Facility Services decided to pull Britthaven of Raleigh's Medicare and Medicaid certficates. Federal funding could expire by the end of the month, leaving patients without a place to stay.

Over the last three years, the state has fined Britthaven of Raleigh, located at 3609 Bond Street, almost $500,000, accusing the facility of providing improper care.

State inspector reports cite patients sitting in soiled clothing, staff administering the wrong dosage of medicine and employees failing to properly change dressings on a wound.

"The care that they have been providing has not been adequate. I think there have been a lot of problems," said Steve White of the state Division of Facility Services. "I think we have been in and out of a situation where we have found problems. We have gone through a cycle where they have corrected the problems and very soon, we get a lot of complaints, and we are back in there and we find more problems."

The company, based in Kinston, operates 37 facilities in the state. Facilities in Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro are at the top of the state's list in the numbers of complaints. The average number filed against any home in one year is 4.6. Britthaven facilities fall on both sides of that average.

But administrators at Britthaven of Raleigh strongly disagree with the assessment. They say it is the system that is broken and that their patients will suffer if the nursing home has to close.

"They come up to us asking, 'Am I going to have to leave?' 'Am I going to have to find a new home?' wanting an explanation of what is going to happen to them and trying to explain this process to them is very difficult," said Bill Mullinix, vice president of Britthaven Regional. "It's difficult for them and it's difficult for us."

There are currently 130 patients living at Britthaven of Raleigh. On Friday, the state Division of Medical Assistance will send letters to 122 families who have loved ones at the facility. They hope to come up with a solution to the problem of where to send the patients to live.

"We're not perfect. There are things that are going to go wrong that we can't anticipate because we're dealing with human beings, but we're proud of the care that we've given and we stand behind the care that we've given," Mullinix said.

Britthaven has several adult care homes in the WRAL-TV viewing area. One facility in Smithfield had 15 complaints in the past year. Facilities in Chapel Hill and Louisburg had nine complaints each.

The nursing home's parent company has already filed a state and federal appeal. The parent company said it strongly disagrees with the state's decision.