City health planners recommended yesterday that Beverly Enterprises, the nation's largest nursing home chain, lose its authority to operate the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home because of continuing violations and poor patient care in the three years it has managed the facility.
The staff of the District's Health Planning and Development Agency, which issues certificates of need that health facilities are required to have, found that repeated, serious violations of city nursing home laws have not been corrected. An advisory committee to the agency voted last night to recommend that the city's Health Coordinating Committee revoke the home's certificate, but a complex review process taking 90 days or more must be completed final action is taken.
A report of the planning agency staff said that the 355-bed nursing home at 3333 Wisconsin Ave. NW does not have enough nurses, that frail patients were left in wheelchairs from breakfast until 4 p.m., that many patients were not wearing underwear, socks or shoes, that diets were not served properly and that infection control, equipment, and cleanliness were deficient.
Jane Redicker, a spokeswoman for Beverly Enterprises in Rockville, said, "We are in total disagreement with that staff recommendation and staff report. We'll show progress that has been made since the beginning of the year." Redicker added, "The quality of care is not where we want it to be. The next survey we hope will be better." She said that city inspectors will be finishing their annual survey of the facility today.
City health planners revoked Beverly Enterprises' certificate of need once before, in March 1981, because of complaints from home employes and the union representing them concerning conditions at the home. The certificate was reissued with strict reporting and care requirements for the home.
In its report, the planning staff found that the home "has not significantly improved since January 1981" when Beverly Enterprises assumed its management.
The staff based its decision on a July 2 survey by city inspectors that showed the same deficiencies that have been cited continuously since 1981. But an official of the Baltimore regional office of the federal agency that pays for care at the home said that this same survey showed "marked" improvement. In a letter solicited by Beverly Enterprises to counter the negative city report, Thomas Morford, deputy director of the Health Care Financing Administration, said, "Although some deficiencies remain at the standard level, there are no serious problems with care being rendered to the patients."
The city inspectors, who also perform annual surveys for the federal agency, found in July that night and evening shifts "frequently" were staffed only by nonlicensed help, "which places both patients in staff in vulnerable positions."
Patients in safety devices, such as restraining belts, were not checked regularly or released for exercise, the inspectors found.