Catherine Scott, Acting Inspector General
Office of the State Inspector General
Re: NYS Dept. of Health, Central New York Regional Office, Long Term Care Unit
217 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202-1380
On the subject of my roommate [at Rome Center Rehab]] who had a contagious infection, [Investigator] Olivo [from the NYS Dept. of Health, Long Term Care Unit] refused to discuss it with me, claiming HIPAA and patient confidentiality. I am bloody sick and tired of incompetent and/or malicious health care workers using HIPAA to protect themselves from accountability. Staff members on the day shift put on gowns and gloves, entered our room, and then went back and forth between my roommate and myself. It is my issue. HIPAA does not attain when a patient is asking why she was exposed to a person with a contagious infection.
Olivo’s response was that she’d read the medical records and that proper sterile orders were prescribed. The fact that they were prescribed does not mean that they were carried out. Did Olivo interview my roommate, her daughter, or any other patients who occupied the bed I had been in?
Totally frustrated, I asked Olivo if we could meet to discuss the matter. She replied, “I’m not going to meet you at Burger King or Dunkin Donuts.” What kind on unprofessional ninny would even consider such places for a business meeting?
I replied that we could meet in my home or at her office. Olivo said that she doesn’t make home visits. In fact, I am multiply disabled and travel by wheelchair. As a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, professional people frequently meet with me in my home.
To my offer to meet with her in her office, Olivo said, “I’m usually out on field visits.” Point of fact: Investigator Olivo did not interview me before she investigated Rome Center, and afterwards she refused to discuss it with me. Where is the transparency? Where is the citizen’s need to understand how government decisions are made? How could Rome Center be found without fault? Talk to me; explain it to me. If you have done the right thing then you should have no problem answering my questions.
A proper investigation of my complaint against Rome Center would begin with an Internet search under both Rome Center and Stonehedge. At http://www.wellness.com/reviews/2511214/stonehedge-health-rehabilitation-center-nursing-home there are reports as recent as September 2012 calling the place “hell.”
There is a review at https://www.ourparents.com/new_york/rome/stonehedge_health_and_rehab_center_rome which states that “Facility is Disassocating it’s self from the unpopular name ‘STONEHEDGE’, insisting it be called it’s new name: Rome Center for Rehabilitation and Health Care, still located at 801 James Street, Rome, NY.”
A proper investigation should have coupled my complaint against Rome Center with others. My roommate’s daughter, a nurse, said she called the Nursing Home Hotline and filed a complaint on Monday, two days before I did. How many other Stonehedge/Rome Center complaints have been recorded on the hotline and over what period of time?
There have been phone calls to 911 from inpatients at Stonehedge/Rome Center. One person reported not getting oxygen at the level ordered by her doctor and consequently being ambulanced to the hospital. How many phone calls has 911 received from Stonehedge/Rome Center? Why haven’t they reported the problems for investigation?
After being denied access to outside help and being threatened with hospitalization for my “bad attitude,” I called 911 and asked for the police to be sent. They were not. A Rome Police Dept. sergeant is now investigating to see why 911 did not send them the call. How long has the cover-up of cries for help been going on? If the DOH Regional Long Term Care Unit had a copy of my blog, why didn’t they query 911?
Why wasn’t I given a copy of my so-called complaint? Why wasn’t I interviewed? Why were Finnegan, Vendetti and Olivo so resistant to talking to me? What makes them think they can operate a secretive unit that is not accountable to the citizen/complainant?
How could they possibly have done an appropriate investigation of Stonehedge/Rome Center and found nothing wrong? Did they interview bedridden patients? Did they ask how long they wait for call bells to be answered? Did they ask about being left on soiled sheets? Did they look at the cleanliness of rooms? Or did they just look at the written records prepared by staff members? I would like to see all the written notes from nursing and social work and compare them to my version of what happened. Was my request for an eye doctor noted? Why wasn’t it follow up? Was there any documentation of urine output and fluid intake? Why didn’t I see a doctor?
I am asking you, as Inspector General, to investigate the investigating unit and find out why they didn’t do their job. Also, can you get the case of Stonehedge/Rome Center immediately transferred to some other unit for investigation? The Department of Health should not be investigating itself—not when they find themselves without flaw.