Feb 18, 2019
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Will They Ever Learn?

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Universal Healthcare North Raleigh has a history of problems and was the subject of state and federal investigations last year over alleged patient abuse.  Universal Healthcare North Raleigh became the focus of a WRAL News investigation last May, after Rebecca Knaption shared footage captured on a hidden camera she installed in her father’s room. The video shows staff took more than an hour to respond after Richard Johnson fell out of his bed, and they then mocked and belittled him.

The incident led to state inspectors substantiating allegations of abuse at the north Raleigh facility and WRAL Investigates uncovering a history of violations at Universal Healthcare facilities across North Carolina.

Universal Healthcare officials promised changes, saying the staffers who mistreated Johnson were fired and the rest of the staff received additional training. But WRAL Investigates has found new problems at the north Raleigh facility in recent months. Sources also told WRAL Investigates that state inspectors are looking into the recent deaths of two residents of Universal Healthcare North Raleigh, who were both reported to have fallen, as well as unexplained bruises on residents.

A woman in need of constant care was sent home in December after she couldn’t pay her outstanding bill and was left to fend for herself.

The woman, a diabetic amputee in a wheelchair, said that Universal Healthcare staff pressured her to pay, and when she couldn’t, she was given a 30-day notice. Instead of finding another facility that would take her, she said she was transported to her Cary mobile home and left her with no food, family or care plan.

She said she had to call 911 after four hours and was taken to a hospital.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services threatened to terminate Universal Healthcare North Raleigh from the Medicare program, meaning it could no longer be reimbursed for services for Medicare-eligible patients, if violations found last year weren’t addressed by Oct. 15. As of last July, CMS also was levying daily fines on the facility for ongoing problems.

It’s unclear whether fines are still being levied, if the government ever collected any of the money owed or if Universal Healthcare was able to correct deficiencies to remain in the Medicare program.

 



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