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Assisted living center faces license revocation

Menomonee Falls' Assisted Living Concepts must fix violations by June

The Department of Health Services threatened to revoke the license of Tamarack Place in Menomonee Falls for serious violations.

The Department of Health Services threatened to revoke the license of Tamarack Place in Menomonee Falls for serious violations. Photo By Michael Sears

May 14, 2012

Wisconsin regulators have threatened to revoke the license of an assisted living center in Menomonee Falls run by Assisted Living Concepts, a Wisconsin company whose centers have been cited for serious violations in several states.

The Department of Health Services this month threatened to revoke the license of Tamarack Place, N84 W17147 Menomonee Ave., for not providing adequate nursing services and other violations.

The assisted living center has until June 24 to correct the violations.

Revoking an assisted living center's license is the most serious action that the state can take short of taking over the facility.

The state's move was disclosed this week and was based on an inspection conducted last month.

Earlier this year, state regulators barred Cedar Gardens, an Assisted Living Concepts facility in Cedarburg, from admitting new residents until it corrected a number of violations, such as not investigating thefts from at least 11 residents.

Assisted Living Concepts, based in Menomonee Falls, did not respond to requests for comment.

The company, which had revenue of $234.5 million last year, operates more than 200 assisted living centers in 20 states, including 12 in Wisconsin.

In the past year, state regulators in Idaho, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama have found many problems at the company's centers, including inadequate staffing, not ensuring residents were given proper medication and not discharging those who required a higher level of care.

Earlier this month, Assisted Living Concepts disclosed that it had been sued by the landlord of eight of its centers in Georgia and Alabama because regulators have threatened to revoke the permits for three of the centers, breaching the terms of the lease.

The disclosure came one day after the company canceled its first-quarter earnings release and conference call with Wall Street analysts. Both have yet to be rescheduled.

Last month, regulators in Idaho shut down the company's center in Twin Falls for inadequate staffing. The center had been operating under a provisional license after regulators found it had financially exploited two residents.

In addition, Assisted Living Concepts surrendered the license for its center in South Bend, Ind., in late March as part of a settlement after inspections found numerous incidents of substandard care.

Assisted Living Concepts was spun off as a public company by a subsidiary of Extendicare, a Canadian company that operates nursing homes and assisted-living centers in Canada and the United States.

Thornridge Holdings Ltd., a private Canadian company, controls Assisted Living Concepts.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services could not comment on Assisted Living Concepts' centers in Menomonee Falls and Cedarburg. But family members of residents at both centers have been concerned about inadequate staffing, high turnover, bad food, the quality of care and other problems for more than a year.

"You can't imagine how many different directors in a matter of a few months," said Billie Yaeger, who moved her parents from Tamarack Place last summer.

The violations cited by the Division of Quality Assurance in a May 3 letter to the center include:

Not providing adequate nursing services or oral care for one resident, whose doctor had requested that his or her blood pressure be monitored once a month and whose dentist had found "many area of decay and periodontal disease."

Not providing adequate training to the staff, including a member of the staff who did not have documented training or experience in preventing infections from urinary catheters. The inspectors watched the staff member not put a protective cover on the tip of the catheter and let the tip touch the floor while providing assistance to a resident.

Inspectors also found serious violations at Cedar Gardens in Cedarburg, which had six administrators last year, according to the state report.

They included not providing adequate services to prevent one resident from falling twice in one day, requiring emergency services each time.

"When emergency responders arrived the first time, they observed feces on Resident 1 and on the floor," according to the state report. "When emergency responders arrived the second time, they observed Resident 1 with her pants off, in feces and not wearing the splint which was ordered during her first ER visit."

The inspection also found at least 11 residents had reported thefts, one for an estimated $12,500 in jewelry, that had not be properly investigated.

The state ordered the assisted living center to provide training to its managers and caregivers within 30 days.

The Department of Health Services has not found serious violations at Assisted Living Concepts' other centers in the state, according to a department spokeswoman.

According to its website, those centers are in Lake Mills, South Milwaukee, Waupaca, Fond du Lac, Altoona, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, New Holstein and Chippewa Falls.

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