Local
9:50 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

17 nursing home workers accused of mistreating patients

Criminal complaints were filed in Buffalo City Court Thursday, alleging mistreatment of residents at the HighPointe on Michigan nursing home on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Seventeen workers at the nursing home are being named, but further details are not expected until the accused workers are arraigned Friday afternoon.

HighPointe, which is operated by Kaleida Health, opened in December 2011, replacing the Deaconess Center on Humboldt Parkway and the skilled nursing unit at the now-closed Millard Fillmore Gates Circle hospital.

The state health department reported 119 complaints through this past February, which translates to 44.8 complaints per 100 occupied beds, above the state average of 34.1. Fifty-nine state inspections resulted in 6.4 deficiency citations per 100 occupied beds, nearly three times the 2.2 statewide average.

“Kaleida Health has terminated the 17 employees for neglectful care of one resident," said Michael Hughes, spokesman for Kaleida Health, in a statement released Thursday evening.  "This behavior, and lack of appropriate care, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

"When we were made aware of the situation we took action," Hughes continued.  "Kaleida Health, through its office of Internal Audit and Compliance, has been working cooperatively with the Attorney General’s office on this investigation."

The Communication Workers of America said it represents six of the fired workers.  Union officials released a statement saying they will meet with the workers soon.  The statement echoed Kaleida's in that such mistreatment of the elderly "cannot be tolerated."