Nursing home in Jackson court

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC – Dowagiac Nursing Home's survival saga continues in Jackson County Circuit Court at 2 p.m. today as Judge John G. McBain considers an emergency injunction against closure filed Monday.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) June 14 issued an emergency order revoking the facility's license – one day after MDCH's temporary manager appointed an administrator for the facility at 610 Uneta St. MDCH then issued a notice June 15 terminating the facility's Medicaid provider agreement.
Troy attorney Andrew R. Rothman, on behalf of residents Janet Blough, Diane Buehler, Stella Curtis, George Dennis, Marilyn Flanagan, Timothy Glenn, Geraldine Marrow, Richard Rose, Betty Ruide, Robert Siler and Robert Wojcicki by their legal guardian, Janice Pieta, filed an emergency motion seeking an order appointing a receiver, for injunctive relief and holding the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in contempt of court" for making "knowing misrepresentations" and "misleading statements."
"Basically, they wanted to close the place all along," Rothman told the Daily News Tuesday afternoon in a phone interview.
Rothman's 24-page filing asks McBain for an emergency order appointing MDCH Director Janet Olszewski as Dowagiac Nursing Home receiver, enjoining MDCH from terminating its license and Medicaid provider agreement until approval of a new operator/licensee.
Plaintiffs initially filed an action June 6.
MDCH counsel Darrin F. Fowler, an assistant attorney general, appeared at that hearing and "announced for the first time," according to court documents, "that MDCH was opposed to the appointment of Director Olszewski as receiver, and that a receiver was not necessary because the MDCH had no plans to suspend or revoke the license of the facility. Fowler stated that MDCH had already chosen and appointed a temporary manager to run the facility and that the temporary manager would be in place and managing the facility on the day after (June 7) to 'take care of operations of the facility to insure health, safety and welfare of the residents.' "
Based on representations by the MDCH's counsel on the record in open court, plaintiffs say they agreed to the temporary manager's appointment and did not at that time pursue appointment of the MDCH director as a receiver, with "the specific understanding that the temporary manager would take over complete operational responsibility, including hiring and firing of employees, funding operations and insuring that the residents were cared for."
Further based on the representations of MDCH counsel in open court, the court entered an order enjoining Citizens Bank of Troy and John Hupp and Red Oak Healthcare Management defendants from taking money from Citizens Bank accounts and requiring the temporary manager MDCH appointed to file an accounting with the court within 30 days to assure that all operating funds received were used for residents' care and for no other purpose.
"The clear purpose of the CNO (correction notice order, which the MDCH counsel provided plaintiffs' counsel via fax June 7) "was to preserve the facility as a functioning nursing home for the residents and to make improvements so the residents would not have to move, as being forced to move from the facility can likely cause physical and psychological injury to the residents, including injury sustained as a result of transfer trauma and the loss of familiar surroundings and familiar faces," Rothman wrote. "…Michigan law and regulations require a temporary manager and clinical advisor to do everything possible to oversee the making of corrections and to attempt to bring the facility into substantial compliance with all state and federal nursing home licensure and Medicare/Medicaid certification requirements."
There is only one other licensed nursing home in Cass County.
, and the Medical Care Facility in Cassopolis is already full.
Plaintiffs argue that MDCH already determined that Cass County is under-bedded by at least 50 nursing home beds.
"This will force plaintiffs and the other approximately 115 residents to have to move far away from their loved ones, creating further irreparable harm and emotional trauma."
Rothman said he has been an attorney for the long-term health care industry for 25 years.