Failure to Plan
North Carolina Health News had a great report about the problems in North Carolina nursing homes. The same problems exists in South Carolina as well. Unsafe staffing and gross failures to plan are widespread. The report discusses Principle Long Term Care and its facility Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation. Principle Long Term Care. The company is listed in federal records as owners of 38 North Carolina nursing homes. According to a 2021 contract bid to the state Department of Administration, Principle has been in operation since 1980.
They faced a deathly crisis because of snow on January 16. Two residents died at the home and almost a hundred were neglected because of “no shows.” No shows are caregivers scheduled to work but they do not show up. Instead of 15 caregivers necessary to provide necessary care, the facility only provided one nurse and two assistants. Neither the administrator nor the director of nursing was there, according to a 159-page Division of Health Service Regulation investigative report that included an interview with the unnamed administrator.
The DHHS division that oversees licensing and regulating nursing homes in the state cited the facility. The citations included 13 deficient practices that investigators discovered. Many put residents’ lives and safety in immediate jeopardy.
Nine days before the incident, a report from CMS showed that nursing homes with high levels of turnover provided less staff, less care, and had lower quality ratings. On the Medicare.gov nursing home ratings website, Pine Ridge garners only a one-star rating out of a possible five stars, something listed as “much below average.”
This incident wasn’t the first time Principle had come under scrutiny. Principle was ruled out by an evaluation team from the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, even though it offered to run the homes for the lowest percentage of revenue among three applicants.
Principle was lacking because a 2017 corporate reorganization cited a case in which employee Douglas S. Little was convicted of second-degree forcible sex offense against a resident of Lake Park Nursing Home in Indian Trail.
Principle also came under state sanctions in 2020 when investigators documented a threat of immediate jeopardy to a Pine Ridge resident.
State Rep. Donna White (R-Clayton) said after the meeting that the problems of low staffing and poor planning are not unique to Pine Ridge and its horrific snow day.
“I can tell you that’s not the only facility in North Carolina that has those issues,” White said.
“It could be a fire, it could be anything else, it could be a hurricane, it could be a tornado. It could be another pandemic.
“I understand that all these things have been spotlighted more because of the pandemic. But the underlying issues were already there.”