Recently, my company was the victim of reporting based on flawed data, causing irreparable harm to our business. The most damaging article ran on page 1 of the May 23 issue of IBJ under the headline “Ombudsman raps home health firm over patient care.” On June 13, an article appeared in IBJ Daily, containing several of the same errors from the May story.
On behalf of Nightingale Home Healthcare Inc. and its employees, I want to set the record straight. Since I was unable to respond earlier because of court proceedings, I’m submitting this to help provide facts that dispute what was reported and then publicized.
I’ll start with the report most directly responsible for the bankruptcy of our 20-year-old company. In December of 2015, the Indiana State Health Department claimed that we had put patients in “immediate jeopardy,” an allegation which started our downward spiral. ISDH cited two patient cases which ultimately led to Medicare’s decision to defund our company.
The first patient had a urinary tract infection and—allegedly—received no home visits after his usual nurse began a medical leave. Our internal investigation revealed that the patient’s spouse did not want another nurse to change her husband’s catheter. Instead, she asked to wait until the regular nurse returned the following month. An LPN visited the patient during the regular nurse’s leave and reported that the patient had a normal temperature, showed no signs of infection and that his lung sounds were clear.
The IBJ article included information from the ISDH report claiming the patient developed sepsis and was hospitalized for nine days, then returned home only to be readmitted 24 hours later. He died two weeks later. The patient’s death certificate, however, lists the cause of death as respiratory failure due to aspiration pneumonia, most likely due to issues following a barium swallowing test six weeks prior to his death, a procedure that did not involve Nightingale.
The second patient cited supposedly had issues related to blood draws for testing. Our review revealed that the patient had advanced dementia and was being cared for at home by a relative who was still working full time. Blood was drawn for the first two weeks as scheduled; in the third week, the patient’s relative could not be reached until after the scheduled visit. When arrangements were being made for the next blood draw, the patient’s relative said that she understood her mother needed more care and had decided to transfer her from home health to hospice.
I hope these facts will begin to help readers understand our situation.
Dr. Dev Brar, president
Nightingale Home Healthcare Inc.