CareOne Peabody on fed list of troubled nursing homes

File photoCareOne Peabody is one of 10 Massachusetts nursing homes on a federal special focus facility candidate list. 

PEABODY — A secret list of the most troubled nursing homes in the country, released last week, includes a nursing home in Peabody.

CareOne Peabody, which is located on Route 114 across from the Northshore Mall, is one of approximately 500 nursing homes that have a "persistent record of poor care" and require increased government oversight, according to the report.

The list was released by a pair of senators from Pennsylvania in an effort to shed light on the federal "special focus facility program."

Only about 3 percent of the nation's more than 15,700 nursing homes are in the program, according to the report by U.S. Senators Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican.

The report said only 88 of the facilities are actually receiving the increased oversight due to limited resources at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The other 435 facilities, including CareOne Peabody, are not getting the extra scrutiny. They are listed as "candidates" for the program and are not publicly disclosed. 

"As a result, individuals and families making decisions about nursing home care for themselves or for a loved one are unlikely to be aware of these candidates," the report said.

CareOne at Peabody, a 150-bed nursing home, was temporarily barred from admitting new residents last November after a state report found that supervisors failed to investigate several incidents of sexual abuse by a resident against other residents.

The facility was ordered by the state to take "immediate corrective action" and was fined $173,403 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The nursing home's administrator and director of nursing resigned in the wake of the investigation. The admissions freeze was lifted on Dec. 21 after the state determined the deficiencies had been corrected.

Ryan Murphy, the current administrator at CareOne Peabody, said in an email that the company was not aware of the list released by the Pennsylvania senators. Murphy pointed out that CareOne Peabody has high ratings for quality and staffing, two of the categories on Medicare's Nursing Home Compare website.

The facility, however, is rated "below average" overall on the website.

"We are confident in our leadership team that our center will exceed standards and that our quality efforts will continue to be reflected on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare rankings," Murphy said.

The senators' report, titled "Familes' and Residents' Right To Know: Uncovering Poor Care In America's Nursing Homes," said there is no difference in terms of quality between the nursing homes that are receiving increased oversight, called "participants," and those that are "candidates" for oversight, such as CareOne Peabody.

But while the government requires participant nursing homes to notify residents and the community that they are in the program, the candidate nursing homes are not. Candidates become participants only when a participant is moved off the list.

Casey and Toomey said in their report that they were releasing the candidate list "to provide Americans and their families with the transparency and information they deserve when choosing a home in which to entrust the care of a loved one."

CareOne Peabody is one of 10 Massachusetts nursing homes on the list special focus facility candidate list.

The others are: Oxford Rehabilitation & Health Center in Haverhill; Worcester Rehabilitation & Health Center; Crawford Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fall River; Garden Place Healthcare in Attleboro; Marlborough Hills Rehabilition & Health Center; Northwood Rehabilitation & Health Center in Lowell; Parsons Hill Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in Worcester; Jewish Nursing Home of Western Mass. in Longmeadow; Worcester Health Center; and Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamstown.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.