JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - State officials have asked the Craighead County Circuit Court to appoint a receiver to handle operations for a Jonesboro nursing and long-term care facility.
According to records from Arkansas Court Connect, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance, Office of Long-Term Care have asked for the receivership.
“The facility appears to be financially unable to secure or maintain continuing and regular sources of food, medicines, services, and supplies necessary for the safe and continued operation of the facility for the care and benefit of the residents," DHS said in a 10-page court filing. “It is also uncertain and unquestionable whether the facility can maintain the minimum staffing levels necessary for the safety, security, and welfare of the residents due to its financial inability to regularly meet its current and future payroll obligations."
According to a two-page order from Circuit Judge John Fogleman, DHS is appointed to serve as receiver for 30 days from the date of entry of the order.
The order also noted that both DHS and Lexington Place can also request a hearing before the 30-day period, upon five days written notice to the other party.
“If a request for a hearing is made to the Court before the end of the 30-day period but is not heard until after the 30-day period, this order shall continue until the hearing is held and a new order is entered; and DHS shall maintain all powers granted a receiver pursuant to Arkansas Code Ann. 20-10-101 for the continuation of the operation of the facility for the safety, security and welfare of the residents; and DHS shall not be required to post any bond,” the court order noted.
On Monday, the Arkansas Department of Human Services filed complaints to place two privately-owned nursing facilities under temporary DHS control to ensure the health and safety of the residents.
The state of Arkansas, through DHS, has filed complaints with local circuit courts to take over the facilities on a temporary basis and is working with an Arkansas-based nursing home owner, who has agreed to temporarily step in and manage the day-to-day operations.
The two facilities for which DHS filed complaints are:
- Arlington Cove Healthcare in Trumann, which had 35 residents as of Friday, Sept. 27
- Deerview in Ola, which had 32 residents
The other two other facilities that DHS continues to monitor are:
- Lincoln Heights Healthcare in Star City, which had 53 residents
- Prescott Manor Nursing Center in Prescott, which had 54 residents.
After a week of investigating, the Department of Human Services is now working to pull those five Arkansas private-owned nursing facilities out of the mud. Lexington Place Healthcare & Rehab in Jonesboro also faces several lawsuits.
An employee told Region 8 News she didn’t want to be identified but supported Monday’s announcement.
“I’m very thankful that they are stepping in. They needed to step in," they said.
In an interview with NBC-affiliate KARK, DHS said it didn’t take them long to figure that out those recent complaints were true.
“We went out there and identified some financial issues and began to grow increasingly concerned with the financial instability of those facilities... these two specifically and that’s Arlington Cove and Deerview," D.H.S. Director of the Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance Jerry Sharum said.
Those instabilities created a domino effect, which Sharum described as the facilities’ inability to continue to care for the residents due to the financial problems they were experiencing.
The department has been in contact with Keith Head, the owner of all 5 facilities since last week.
Monday, Head agreed to the entry of these orders to take receivership.
If approved by a judge, that means the state will make sure that employees at these facilities will get paid, food will be purchased, medications and treatments will be administered, and the facility will continue to operate and offer the critical services that residents need. DHS will also work to stabilize both Arlington Cove and Deerview by contracting a management company immediately to help run the facilities.
“The health and safety of the residents is our top priority,” said Sharum. “That’s why we already have a provider ready to step in and temporarily operate and stabilize this facility. That will ensure residents are safe and that the staff that has worked so hard during this difficult situation will be paid and have the supplies necessary to take care of their residents. I’ve been impressed by the staff caring for these residents during all this.”
That one employee said her love for the residents is why she’s still there, but if she doesn’t get paid again she will leave.
“These residents are my life like I love them and that’s the main reason why I haven’t left this year, that’s the only reason I haven’t left yet. But, I need my money, like I need it. It’s a sad situation but I will be gone," she said.
In May 2018, DHS filed complaints to serve as a receiver at two facilities in Dierks and Hazen, following serious financial issues in Arkansas and across the country for the owner, Skyline. Those facilities were eventually sold. Sharum says cases like these are relatively unusual.
DHS has been closely monitoring these facilities since September 25th upon the Office of Long-term Care learning about payroll issues occurring at Lexington Place on September 24th. The Department of Human Services confirmed they may potentially file a complaint against Lexington place, Lincoln Heights and Prescott Manor.
State officials said Oct. 30 that Lexington Place remains under receivership, which means it is still in the hands of the temporary agency assigned to the facility by DHS.
DHS spokesman Marci Manley said officials are working with Head to find a new owner to buy the facility.