Blog

Low Point for HighPointe: HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home in Buffalo, NY Fined $500,000 After Two Residents Die

HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home in Buffalo, New York, operated by the non-profit Kaleida Health, has paid a $500,000 penalty to New York State Medicaid. It comes after two residents—a 16-month-old boy born prematurely and a 56-year-old paralyzed man—died while in the care of the facility, according to a November 19, 2019 article in the Buffalo News. HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home allegedly also falsified records after the 56-year-old paralyzed man died. Seventeen nursing home workers from HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home were convicted of falsifying records in that case.

HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home

HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home in Buffalo, New York, a 300-bed facility, features Buffalo’s only pediatric unit. The 16-month-old boy died after choking on liquid food in a feeding tube. No one was watching him when he was fed, even though he was at risk for aspiration and feeding could lead to him vomiting. Before this $500,000 sanction, HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home had previously been fined $16,000 because staff failed to monitor the boy and neglected to wear mandated pagers that would have alerted them to a resident choking. They also failed to maintain current medical notes.

A November 28, 2018 article in the Buffalo News sheds more light on the heartbreaking death of the 16-month old boy. Jameir Benn, a triplet who was born at 25 weeks, was at the nursing home as a precaution because he suffered from respiratory distress and had to be fed through a tube. Against his mother’s wishes, instead of going home he was transferred to HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home from Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Both facilities are under the umbrella of Kaleida Health. After Jameir aspirated on his liquid diet while being fed without supervision, his nurse told his mother that she only left him alone for “a few seconds.” Allegedly, that was a lie. She allegedly left him alone for 75 minutes. An investigation found that a respiratory therapist was wearing a pager but did not immediately respond to an alert that Jameir had stopped breathing. The respiratory therapist was with another patient when he initially heard the alert, and ultimately responded to the pager only after it beeped repeatedly. Nurses later stated that the pagers were frequently broken. This information only came to light in a government investigation because HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home failed to conduct its own investigation after Jameir’s death. In addition to Jameir, other pediatric residents were allegedly not properly monitored to prevent aspiration during tube feedings, according to a state investigation.

HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home

Most Buffalo-area nursing homes are managed by for-profit companies that are not based locally, but Kaleida Health is a local nonprofit, but that still did not prevent his alleged maltreatment from occurring. The facility also received citations for poor treatment of residents’ bedsores, improper hygiene when dealing with incontinence care, and failure to administer medications to residents. Following the $500,000 sanction, HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home says that it has added 75 new full-time employees, replacing 85% of management and 60% of “front-line” staff. The facility has also hired a medical doctor and will hire a corporate compliance officer to work exclusively with HighPointe.  Despite this, HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home is still rated only two stars out of five, considered “below average” according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which rates nursing homes.

If your family member was poorly treated while at HighPointe on Michigan Nursing Home in Buffalo, New York, don’t hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse attorney. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free case consultation.