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Helena nursing home again cited for endangering patient

Missoulian - 7/25/2019

For the second time in about two years, a Helena nursing home received an immediate jeopardy citation for putting a resident in danger of serious harm or death.

Big Sky Care Center, formerly known as Big Sky Healthcare Community, received the latest citation on June 6, following an unannounced investigation conducted by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The investigation was sparked by complaints from concerned citizens who reported a man in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank smoking near the curb of a busy road.

Because the incident was classified as an immediate jeopardy situation, the facility had to take immediate corrective actions to avoid the risk of losing its Medicare and Medicaid funding. The state accepted the facility's plan of correction on June 7, and the immediate jeopardy status was removed.

Big Sky became a non-smoking facility in May 2018, after the facility received another immediate jeopardy citation because a patient caught fire and suffered second degree burns while smoking with an oxygen tank. The resident was not being supervised at the time and died several weeks later.

Kismet took over the facility from Welcov Healthcare in the fall of 2018.

According to a DPHHS report, the man involved in the latest citation began smoking offsite because he was no longer allowed to smoke at the facility. The report says Big Sky staff and visitors told the man this was not safe, but he continued to smoke offsite anyway.

It was determined that the resident is capable of making informed decisions independently.

On June 5, the resident was seen leaving the facility in his motorized wheelchair. He drove to the end of the property and parked on the street next to the curb, where he began smoking a cigarette. The report noted that several vehicles drove past the resident and even came to a stop when two vehicles were passing him at the same time. The resident was not wearing reflective gear and did not have any safety accessories visible. There was no sidewalk between the facility and the street and the resident was unsupervised.


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