In 2010, Kathy Lee placed her mother in Austin Retirement and Nursing Center, KVUE reports. A few months ago, she received a call from an ICU nurse. Her mom was in the hospital. Within hours, 86-year-old Sadie Brasch was dead.
According to the KVUE article, the Department of Aging and Disability Services launched an investigation after receiving a complaint lodged after Brasch's death. In February, DADS released a report that found Austin Retirement and Nursing Center put as many as 86 residents with dementia at risk. In addition, the nursing home has been cited more than 100 times over the past few years for multiple reasons.
KVUE reports that the nursing home did not consult a physician despite a worsening in Brasch's condition, and did not even know Brasch had died until Lee told them. The DADS report determined that many more patients were also put at risk of illness and death due to delays in notifying a physician. According to KVUE, Ben Marks, the administrator for Austin Retirement and Nursing Home, the center does not agree with the state's findings and is appealing the claim that their facility is out of compliance.
Although the nursing home has been fined $16,500 since 2008, only about half of that has been paid, KVUE reports. In fact, KVUE discovered that Texas nursing homes rarely pay initial state fines because state law allows DADS to reduce fines if nursing facilities pay early and promise to correct violations.
This is a loophole that state Senator Charles Schwertner of Georgetown hopes to correct.
"That needs to be closed, and those penalties need to be serious penalties and not just seen as the cost of doing business," Schwertner tells KVUE.
For more information, see the full KVUE report.