Troubled New York Nursing Home Has History of Not Running Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 9/20/2016

This week saw two nursing homes in the Oswego, New York area enter the headlines after former aides were criminally charged with abusive behavior. According to a report on, the former aides have been accused of taunting their residents and taking demeaning photos or videos of them. The report did not specify who the aides are or how many of them were involved in the inappropriate treatment of residents. All implicated aides are facing felony charges.

The article noted that both nursing homes have one-star ratings from the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This organization rates nursing homes nationwide on a scale of one star to five stars. One star is the lowest grade that a nursing home can receive. Several different factors play into deciding a nursing home's grade but the grade is primarily based on inspection results.

The first of the two businesses, Pontiac Nursing Home, has a history of missed employee background checks. In a New York Health Department inspection report from July 2015, Pontiac was cited for having four newly hired employees on the payroll who had not yet undergone criminal background checks. The nursing home said it corrected that shortcoming shortly after the inspection by running background checks on every employee.

Missing background checks wasn't the only issue that the Health Department highlighted in that 2015 inspection report. According to the report, Pontiac Nursing Home was also cited for failing to train workers in proper abuse prevention tactics and failing to investigate several possible cases of neglect and abuse.

The second nursing home, St. Luke Health Services, had a better track record based on state inspections. Where Pontiac picked up 24 citations between 2015 and 2016, St. Luke had 11. That's higher than the state average (which is just under six citations annually). St. Luke's most notable infraction came in 2015 when the state cited the nursing home for providing substandard care to 26 patients.

Both nursing homes have claimed that they have thorough employee background check policies in place and that the recently arrested aides all passed checks before being hired. However, the incident—combined with the poor inspection histories of the homes—has resident speculating on wondering whether or not the businesses are doing enough to screen, train, and monitor their employees.


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