A combination of events led to the closing of the Geary Community Nursing Home, said the owner.
On Aug. 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services terminated the provider agreement for the nursing home. The owner of the home said she then voluntarily closed the center last week.
Residents of the home were transferred to other nursing care centers on Aug. 15.
The closing of the home came as the result of an investigation by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which had made survey visits to the center in February and June.
Several problems and deficiencies were identified. The most recent inspection was made Aug. 8.
A Health Department official said the administration and staff of the home were given time to correct the issues.
According to reports, the center was closed “as a result of continuing non-compliance identified by state survey agency on Aug. 8, 2019.” The Medicaid/Medicare termination letter also stated the deficiencies represented “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”
The problems found at the nursing home included insufficient staff as well as the health of the residents. The report stated at least one resident did not receive the medicine she was prescribed for several months. Another patient was said to have been neglected in other ways as well.
The report also stated the nursing home was behind on payments to vendors by thousands of dollars.
More than $31,000 was required to meet payroll and some employees reportedly went unpaid.
Vicki Myers, the owner of the nursing home, said she worked very hard to manage the center. She said she spent much of her own money trying to keep it afloat, including $300,000 she and her husband had saved for retirement.
She said she has not profited from the nursing home.
“I have worked hard to keep the nursing home operating,” Myers said in a written statement. “It has been a distressed nursing home for some time. In January 2018, I became the sole owner with hopes of saving the nursing home, but I have failed. It has gone the way of other rural nursing homes.”
Myers cited reasons for the home’s difficulties.
“It is very unfortunate that needed nursing homes in our state are struggling due to lack of Medicaid funding, slow and complex Medicaid recertification processes and punitive, unprofessional survey processes. Our Medicaid system is hurting and under-funded in Oklahoma.”
Myers said the OSDH assessments were inaccurate.
“In spite of false publicity, the residents were well-cared for, and they were served delicious hot meals. They received their medications timely, and they were provided consistently by Canadian Valley Pharmacy.”
Myers said the El Reno community has always been supportive of the Geary Nursing Home.
“Many El Reno people have been very good to the city of Geary and to the Geary Community Nursing Home. I truly appreciate them.”
Myers is a co-founder of Russell-Murray Hospice in El Reno. She is not the owner, but she currently serves as executive director.
Myers said personal difficulties prevented her from being present at the nursing home while it was closing. Her husband, Mark Myers, has been battling health issues and recently suffered a fall.
“His heart pump has internal damage. He also suffers from advanced renal failure. Mark fell in our home which resulted in a hip contusion, but mostly fell because he is terribly weak.”
She said that Mark has been undergoing transfusions, infusions and IV therapy.
Myers said that annuity money left by a benefactor to the nursing home was used to pay nursing home vendors and debt, with her receiving none of the money. She said that managing and funding the home has caused her financial problems, but she also said she’s glad to have done it.
“I have no regrets in trying to save the nursing home, employee jobs and allowing the residents to live there as long as possible. Within the past year, many of the long-term residents were able to comfortably spend their last days at the nursing home they considered their home.
“In this life, there are far more important things than money.”
Myers said the nursing home was well looked after by her colleagues during her absence.
“The nursing home was in the hands of Vicki Borden, the most competent nursing home administrator I have known. And even better, the nursing home was being taken care of by two of the most loyal health-care professionals I have ever met.”
Many employees of the home are now out of work as a result of the closure. Sixteen residents were transferred out of the home last week.