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A long list of complaints, both official and informal, about care at Hamptons Center

Publication: The East Hampton Press
By Michael Wright   Feb 3, 2009 3:58 PM

More than 18 months ago, the management of the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton Village said the facility was addressing conditions that led to a patient complaint rate 10 times the national average. But concern, and even anger, about the facility’s quality of care persist.

Overworked and understaffed nurses are joined by a long list of former patients, employees and local doctors who continue to level damning allegations about the 280-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility, which opened in 2006. Mired in controversy throughout its history—starting with lawsuits over the construction of the project in the first place, followed by legal problems and financial complications that delayed construction for more than two years—the nursing home originally known as Payton Lane has had a tumultuous three years of business.

The latest criticism of the facility, which is owned and operated by a local limited liability company, North Sea Associates, comes from emergency medical technicians and crews of local volunteer ambulance companies. In a letter to the State Department of Health, they registered concern about conditions at the hospital and complained that calls from the facility have taxed the local volunteer companies.

But even before the EMTs’ complaints, conditions and the quality of care at the nursing home have been targeted by a wide range of local residents and medical personnel, including doctors who have worked with or at the center since it opened. State officials inspecting the facility have reported the employment of people previously found guilty of abuse, and dangerous conditions for some patients. A recent inspection by state officials in November showed improvement, and no new problems, suggesting that the facility might finally be on track. But the number of complaints and issues raised in the first three years of the Hamptons Center’s existence is notable.

Following several months of investigation, The Press tried over several weeks to contact representatives of the facility, and Dr. Charles Guida of Southampton, its medical director. Numerous telephone messages were not returned, and other attempts to obtain comment in person from any facility spokesperson regarding the complaints, both official and anecdotal, were unsuccessful.

Numerous ‘Deficiencies’

According to the state Department of Health, the Hamptons Rehab Center has logged more than 10 times the statewide average of complaints per 100 beds. In April 2008, the facility was cited by state health inspectors for 57 deficiencies in response to complaints filed over the previous three years. That computes to an average of 245.5 complaints per 100 occupied beds—the statewide average during the same time period was 23.5 complaints per 100 occupied beds.

The problems cited ranged from minor issues with food quality and obstructions in hallways to severe deficiencies in patient care and well-being, serious enough to be considered evidence of “substandard quality of care.”

A summary of the deficiencies on the Department of Health’s website, nyhealth.gov, showed that inspectors rated three conditions at the Hamptons Rehab Center at the most grave level of severity: those which pose “immediate jeopardy” to the health of patients—described as the presence of accident hazards, the employment of people who have previously been found guilty of abuse, and a failure to “effectively obtain the highest practicable well-being.” The most severe concerns were also rated as “widespread” within the facility.

The employment of people guilty of abuse and the accident hazards were further labeled as evidence of “substandard quality of care,” which, according to the department, “indicates a systemic deficiency in quality of care within a facility. Only citations related to the quality of residents’ care can have this designation ... In addition, for a citation to receive this designation, the deficiency must be severe and/or impact several residents.”

An inspection report posted this month on the department’s website, covering the last three years of inspections, shows a total of 55 deficiencies, including 37 related to a standard inspection of the health care provided by the facility, and 18 to life safety code violations, which include fire codes and other matters. All of the figures are more than double the statewide average for a single facility. Seven of the deficiencies, or more than one in 10, were related to actual harm or immediate jeopardy; the state average is one such deficiency, making up 4 percent of the total at any facility.

Four more complaints listed in the state report were given the second most severe rating by inspectors—defined as causing “actual harm”—including a complaint that a patient was not provided sufficient fluids.

Department of Health spokeswoman Claire Pospisil notes that the summary says two of the conditions were to be corrected by the date of the April inspection and the third was to have been corrected by June 20 of last year. She added that a November inspection showed that the Hamptons Center staff had addressed the issues raised in April, and no new deficiencies were found.

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I fault the Administration for these recurring problems. The Director & Asst. Director of Nursing are also at fault because they don't provide any type of care to those residents, they just walk past them as if they don't even exist, seriously! They feel that they aren't supposed to provide any care because they aren't in uniform and that isn't fair to those residents who are spending their life savings in order to stay in the facility nor is it fair to the aides! The supervisors don't even provide ...more
By concerned hamponite (7), hamptons on Feb 3, 09 8:05 PM
Surely the fault lies with some state agency not doing their job to investigate the travesties that are happening here. The state should take this place into receivership and run it. It's sad to see that the patients have lost all their dignity what a disgrace. I wonder if the people responsible are able to sleep at night. Is there a union here and if so why are they allowing this place to run understaffed. Why is there such a difference between the Westhampton Care center and this place. Talk ...more
By harbor man (29), sag harbor on Feb 5, 09 12:54 AM
To say the least the Hampton Care Center is really a dumping ground and it show in the staff that is there. I have a parent in the Center and every time I go there it is a problem her care. She is always sent to the Hospital for the same reason stated in the article, but it does not surprise me a bit it comes down to dollars and cents. They don't pay no real dollars and the people who work there have no sense.
By overworked (1), Riverhead on Feb 5, 09 7:20 PM
First, I would like to start by saying that there are staff at the facility that really do care; given a more condusive working environment they would be working to their full potential. I feel that the supervisors and administration are to blame for the "ISSUES" of the Hampton Center. My grandmother is there and I feel that if we were not actively involved with her care she would be dead aleady. I have spoken to multiple supervisors to no avail. They are full of excuses. My grandmother is ...more
By cclan (2), Hampton Bays on Feb 9, 09 10:08 AM
Sorry, but there is nothing "excellent" about the care at the Hamptons Rehab Center. We placed my Uncle there after hip surgery for convenience of location to other family members and it was the WORST decision we could have ever made. Complaints to the Administrator fell on deaf ears. Plus, the one thing your article doesn't mention is the shady history of both the operator and the illegal activities of the property owner who was convicted of Medicaid fraud and was banned from operating facilities ...more
By talkshow (1), East Quogue on Feb 9, 09 11:15 AM

I want to thank the Southampton Press and the investigative writers that are keeping this story alive. My mother fractured her hip in 06 and needed rehabiliation for about two weeks. I tried to get her into St Charles (regardless of the drive ) and wasn't able to. So I checked out the Southampton Rehabiliation Center. When I brought my mom in ,there were problems from the beginning, small at first. The bed was broken, the room I had reserved for her and agreed to ,was occupied. Then larger ...more
By jaguarindio (2), east Hampton on Feb 10, 09 10:20 PM
disgusting.....is the only way to describe some of the nurses and cnas and the way they treat the residents....like total 2nd class citizens...sad ....no empathy towards they way they care for the patients feelings....just walk all over them like a floor mat....I have seen it with my own eyes and it makes me sick....lack of water when patients need it , meds delievered late, diapers changed too late, bathroom requests done not in time , call buttons ignored , patients yelling for help and nurses ...more
By blondie75 (3), hamptons on Feb 11, 09 10:54 AM
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