Md. fines nursing home, considers taking license; Irvington Knolls' owner to dispute inspectors' report of violations


Thwarted in efforts to force the sale of a troubled Baltimore nursing home, state officials have imposed a $10,000 fine and are considering revoking the license for the facility after allegedly finding more violations.

Carol Benner, director of the state Office of Quality Care, said yesterday that the fine was levied last month against the Irvington Knolls Care Center after inspectors again found evidence that some of the home's 171 patients suffered "actual harm."

"We're concerned about the residents," said Benner, noting that the nursing home at 22 S. Athol Ave. has been cited for deficiencies numerous times in the past. "Based on the survey report, we might take the license."

Ben Gershowitz, son of the home's owner, said they are disputing several of the state's findings and will be presenting evidence to back up their claim.

In January, the state ordered the owner, Sonya Goodman, to sell the home by March 1, but just days before that date, Irvington Knolls filed for protection under federal bankruptcy laws. Records show the state has not attempted to intervene in the case.

In the bankruptcy petition, Lawyers for Irvington Knolls listed assets of $5 million and liabilities of $17.1 million.

Benner said she planned to meet Monday with representatives of the home to discuss the allegations in the latest inspection -- conducted on April 13 -- and the possibility of revoking the license. If the license is revoked, the patients will be transferred to other licensed homes.

Benner said the two most serious problems in the recent inspection report involved instances of bedsores and a patient who suffered a leg fracture. The report also lists 13 instances of medication orders not being followed within a 12-hour period.

Under new federal rules imposed late last year, the infractions, coupled with Irvington's record, triggered an automatic fine. Benner said the fines of $5,000 per serious violation were among the first to be imposed in the state under the new federal rules.

Previously, the state could not impose fines immediately, but first had to give the facility operators an opportunity to contest the findings and file plans to eliminate deficiencies.

Benner said Irvington officials told her this week that they hoped to arrange a sale of the home as soon as next week.

Gershowitz declined to comment when asked about plans to sell the home.

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