Right now in Mid-Missouri, there are 12 nursing homes receiving the lowest possible ranking given by the federal government. Even some of the higher-rater homes are guilty of major federal violations.Just last month, ABC 17 News cameras caught a search for a man who authorities say had gone missing from Riverview Nursing Care in Mokane. He was later found safe, but the incident had us asking what regulations are in place to protect your loved ones? And is enough being done to keep them safe?Since then, we have dug through dozens of reports detailing dangerous living conditions in elderly homes.When choosing a nursing home, skilled nursing facilities are regulated the most, but our research shows they are not following procedure.In fact, dozens have been cited for abuse here in Mid-Missouri and some of the time, that abuse led to a death. The need to clean up these homes is becoming more important as the baby boomer generation gets older and the potential for problems grows.”Residents have broken bones, untreated bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration, infection outbreaks, medication errors and abuse,” said Families for Better Care Executive Director Brian Lee.Nursing home nightmares are hidden in state documents year after year, so this year, ABC 17 News asked the industry’s chief lobbyist in Jefferson City if there is a crisis.”That doesn’t exist,” said Missouri Health Care Association Executive Director Jon Dolan. “Facilities are clean, they are homelike, and there are wonderful, life-affirming experiences residents are facing every day.”But in the past year, two out of five nursing homes ranked below average in the state. That’s according to the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.The ratings are based on three things: inspection reports, staffing and resident satisfaction surveys. Those are three consistent categories both industry experts and advocacy groups value, however, nearly half of Missouri homes aren’t making the federal cut.Brian Lee, a nursing home advocate for Families for Better Care, calls those kinds of violations, “America’s dirty little secrets.””They get poor care, they get neglected and abused, and the system remains the same,” said Lee. “There needs to be a wake up call for Missouri.”Three companies own most of the nursing homes in Mid-Missouri. One that stood out was Juckette Management based in Chillicothe. The company stands out because it has no website, no office address, and we’ve tried for a month to get the owner on the phone with no reply.Hal Juckette owns Ashley Manor Care in Boonville and Columbia Manor Care Center. Both places have been cited in the past year for neglect leading to preventable deaths.The state’s Department of Health and Senior Services sent Hal Juckette, the company’s owner, a letter in March that stated a resident at Columbia Manor Care Center suffered from diarrhea and dehydration for almost two weeks without the chief doctor knowing. At the request of the patient’s family – nearly two weeks into the sickness – the resident was finally taken to the hospital where the patient died.According to another letter of complaint in July, staff at Ashley Manor Care in Boonville broke a resident’s neck on the way out of the dining room. The complaint showed staff didn’t properly secure the resident in a wheelchair. The resident died two days later.”Do we not have a problem? No. As long as there is one tag written, we have a correction to write,” said Dolan. “But we do not have a crisis or problem in Missouri at all.”The state corrects those mistakes with citations that lead to fines. Over the past three years, Juckette Management has paid less than $20,000 in federal fines.A consulting company that once worked for Juckette Management could not give a clear answer as to who runs the Juckette-owned homes. Even those working in the industry say they cannot get a hold of Hal Juckette. There is no telling whether the firm was fired over money concerns, but Missouri advocates say big business is often the big problem.”It’s a big money business, still, whether it’s corporate or not, there are certain things you should expect when you go there,” said Dave Damico of the Missouri Coalition for Quality Care. “Residents still need to be treated with respect and dignity.”CLICK BELOW FOR PART TWO.
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