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Chicago Nursing Home Residents' Heroin Overdose Leads To Penalties

By Christie Abagon , Nov 15, 2016 09:51 PM EST
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State and federal health officials are seeking to fine Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation in Chicago, Illinois after five residents overdosed on heroin inside the facility in February.  The nursing home can pay more than $100,000 in fines.  A sixth overdose incident which occurred at the facility in September 2015 is currently being investigated.

Several residents said that in February, a female visitor sold "white powder in a small zippered baggie."  Five patients in their 40's and 50's were rushed to the hospital and based on the investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH), the residents had all overdosed on heroin.

The Nursing Facility 'Failed' To Monitor Its Residents With Addictions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services imposed a $76,000 civil monetary penalty on Continental for the February overdose incidents.  In April, Continental said it has "ceased admitting any residents with active substance abuse."  Continental is contesting a fine from the Department of Public Health for $25,000 for claims that the facility officials failed to monitor and treat residents with drug addictions.

Continental Nursing Home Had Reports Of Alleged Batteries In The Past

Police and public health inspection records outlined other issues like unsanitary conditions and negligent care at Continental and some of the 13 other facilities owned by the same company in northern Illinois.  Police responded 60 times between 2011 and 2015 for reports of battery, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Owners Are Unaware Of The Problems At The Facility

Co-owner Moishe Gubin said that the issues hurled at the facility "goes against what our mission has been."  He and and business partner Michael Blisko have limited involvement in day-to-day operations of the company.

"If you look at our company historically, we generally give good care," Gubin said. "It's not lack of resources or staff, or they cheaped out and didn't take care of people. You'll never hear about that with us. The person who is the administrator is the one who is responsible day to day." 

Jonathan Dixon, the facility's administrator, echoed the owners' sentiments, saying: "We consistently strive to provide the highest quality of care, in a safe environment."

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