hat tip to Failedmessiah http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2005/05/nursing_home_ba.html
Nursing home’s owner rages at village officials
‘This is about politics,’ he says of EP campaign to shut the facility down
Friday, April 29, 2005
By Stephanie Gehring
Staff writerAn owner of an embattled Evergreen Park nursing home said the state’s crusade against his facility is being fueled by politics.
Morris I. Esformes, who has 51 percent ownership at Emerald Park Health Care Center in Evergreen Park, said village officials don’t like the kind of residents Emerald Park treats.
“This is about politics,” Esformes said. “This is not about the safety of Evergreen Park.”
The 249-bed facility serves both mentally ill and geriatric patients.
Esformes said Mayor James Sexton, state Rep. James Brosnahan and state Sen. Ed Maloney have never been to Emerald Park to see the center first hand.
“Beside the fact that they’re anti-mental health and anti-black, they’re probably anti-Jew because I’m an ordained rabbi,” Esformes said Thursday. “If it was up to the mayor, he would have lily-white geri-atrics knitting all day. The world isn’t like that.” Esformes’ remarks come on the same day his lawyers appeared in court to try to keep state officials from placing Emerald Park in receivership and eventually closing it down.
Sexton, Brosnahan and Maloney said Esformes’ remarks were unfounded and their concerns are based on activities inside and outside the center.
“That’s a beautiful thing for a rabbi to be saying,” said Sexton, who planned to contact his attorney.
He added that it was easy for Esformes to blame everything on politics.
Brosnahan said Esformes is chiefly responsible for the center’s operations.
“He has shown to be a person who doesn’t care about the residents or the facility,” Brosnahan said. “He has shown no regard for the safety of community residents, especially young children. He can point all the fingers he wants to … but he just has to look in the mirror.”
Maloney added that he was called to action because of documentation that outlines problems at the center.
“All I know is what I (have) seen in police reports over the last seven or eight years,” he said. “It is well-documented by Evergreen Park police, Illinois State Police and the state department of public health that it is simply not a safe home for residents there. This latest incident regarding sex offenders puts the community in jeopardy, as well.”
Esformes said he is working within state laws.
“A client can’t be placed into a long-term care facility without the approval of the state of Illinois,” he said.
He said patients are screened by agents and placed in his facility with the state’s blessing.
He argues that a sex offender arrested at a park by Evergreen Park police posed no danger to residents.
“They were on a planned activity,” Esformes said. “They were supervised. There was no chance of any client coming too close to a child.”
The arrested sex offender was one of 10 found living at the facility, 9125 S. Pulaski Road, earlier this month. Two of those men were unregistered.
Despite the numerous violations from the state’s health department Emerald Park has received since 1997, Esformes said all facilities have deficiencies.
“Sexton and Brosnahan have put so much heat on the state health department that any little thing we do is under scrutiny,” Esformes said. “They don’t want to hear our side of the story. There are deficiencies in every facility.”
Sexton said the state’s actions are related to the “shenanigans” at Emerald Park.
“I don’t have two unregistered sex offenders at my house. I don’t have eight registered sex offenders at my house,” he said. “He (did). He would still have them if we hadn’t brought it to the attention of the public. This is just laughable.
“All I’m doing, all Brosnahan and Maloney are doing, is representing their constituents. And I don’t think any of those sex offenders, registered or unregistered, are our constituents.”
Tammy Leonard, spokeswoman for the state health department, said while many facilities have deficiencies, Emerald Park’s history is unique.
“We do have many facilities that don’t have deficiencies,” Leonard said. “Even those who do, don’t have as many and at the severity that this facility has had. The history of this facility is unique, and that is the reason why we are taking these extraordinary measures. They have an egregious compliance history.”
The state stepped up actions against Emerald Park because of its April 22 survey and past history.
“It had nothing to do with any outside pressure,” Leonard said.
She said the state’s main objective is residents’ safety.
“If we see a situation where residents are imperiled, it is our job to fix it,” Leonard said.
Lawyers for Emerald Park Health Care Center have until this afternoon to respond to the state health official’s request that the Evergreen Park nursing home be placed in receivership and eventually closed.
Circuit Court Judge Patrick McGann gave lawyers until 4:30 p.m. today to respond to the state’s request. Judge Julia Nowicki will hold the hearing at 11 a.m. Monday.
Melissa Merz, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, which filed the complaint Wednesday, said no one was surprised by the judge’s decision.
“We are looking very forward to Monday and looking forward to presenting evidence that we believe will establish the gross mismanagement that put residents and the community at risk,” Merz said. “We want to get into receivership and get it closed down.”
Esformes’ attorney Arnold Pagnucci, who said he had not seen the complaint until it was hand-delivered late Wednesday, told the judge the court had an obligation to hold the hearing within five days. But he asked for some time to prepare his client’s defense.
“It’s the only way the defendant is going to get any opportunity to be heard fairly,” Pagnucci said.
Esformes was not in court for the hearing.
The judge asked Deborah Simpson and Yolanda Ricks from the attorney general’s office if they objected to giving Pagnucci some time.
“We would like to have the hearing as soon as possible,” Simpson said. “We have a room full of witnesses. The health department has taken drastic measures and put monitors in place 24 hours because of the way the place is being run.”
Health department officials said placement of monitors in facilities is not typical.
Evergreen Park officials were outraged earlier this month when they learned about the 10 sex offenders living at Emerald Park.
The village board subsequently enacted an ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from living at any long-term care facilities in the village. On the same day the ordinance was approved, the nursing home administrator said Emerald Park had changed its policy and would no longer accept sex offenders.
McGann told Simpson and Ricks during Thursday’s hearing that he had read the complaint and the sex offenders had been removed.
“It’s not just the sex offenders,” Simpson said. “It’s the entire administration.
“This owner appears to view fines and violations as an ordinary course of business,” Simpson said.
Emerald Park has been in trouble with state regulators in the past. A license revocation hearing was scheduled for July 18.
In October 2003, Emerald Park was fined $20,000 for not providing nursing services that matched residents’ needs.
The state also disciplined the nursing home for not properly monitoring a resident who passed out and died after becoming intoxicated. In another case, a patient exchanged sex for cigarettes, became pregnant, and the pregnancy was undetected for eight months.
Esformes said he had planned to meet with state health department officials today, but the meeting was canceled Thursday afternoon.
He said he also wants to work with the village and state legislators.
Esformes, who has spent 35 years in the field of long-term care, said the bottom line is about patients’ rights.
“I’m not going to lay down for these people. If I did something wrong, I’m going to admit it like a man. Don’t be judge and jury. Don’t play God. These people are entitled to a quality of life,” he said.
Sexton also said he was willing to give the situation his all.
“We are committed to being there as many days as it takes and doing whatever we need to do to get our neighborhood back,” he said. “We have been held hostage for 10 years.”
Presidential Pavilion Raid Nets 12 Arrests
By YVETTE PRESBERRY
Published November 06, 2003 Southwest News-Herald – City Edition
Twelve arrests were made on Oct. 28 when local and state police raided Presidential Pavilion, 8001 S. Western Ave.
Officials from the Chicago Lawn (8th) District Police Department stated that 10 of the arrestees were listed as living in the Wrightwood nursing home.
Included in the arrests were Willie Johnson, 50, who was charged with theft; Helen Long, 65, who was charged with invasion of privacy; Leroy Stewart, 52, who failed to register as a sex offender; Regina Johnson, 45, who was charged with drug possession; and Earl Smith, 70, who was charged with drinking on the premises.
Included in the raid were Anegla Martinez, 34, who allegedly violated her probation; Alvin Lewis, 38, who was charged with theft; Pamela Lacy, 43, who was charged with prostitution; Albert Douglas, 64, who was charged with drug possession; and Cecelia Miller, 17, who was charged with child neglect.
Others who were detained by police were Dawn Rambo, 22, of the 2700 block of West 61st Street, who allegedly failed to register as a sex offender; and Kathryn Smith, 44, who was arrested after failing to appear in court on another charge, according to authorities.
All of the offenders except for Stewart had warrants out for their arrest.
The owner of Presidential, Rabbi Morris I. Esformes, could not be reached for comment.
State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) said that she is aware of the police raid and has asked for an immediate investigation of the healthcare facility by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Presidential became the center of controversy when allegations of illegal drug use and other actions reportedly occurred at the nursing home.
Questions on the facility’s screening process were also brought up, especially when Presidential used to just house senior citizens but later admitted people as young as 20 years old.
Both local organizations and state legislators such as Collins and state Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st) have tried to pursue legal actions to regulate reforms at Presidential.
Collins said that she has also spoken to Gov. Blagojevich about Presidential, and is looking for a long-term solution in the screening process of the residents and staff of Presidential Pavilion.
This may be a model for other nursing homes in similar situations, said Flowers.
Alderman Edward M. Burke will be honored by The Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago at its Annual Keter Award Banquet on Sunday evening, November 23, at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Dinner Chairman: Rabbi Morris I. Esformes.
Save the date. For more information or to RSVP please call Scott Harrington at 773-473-8493.
Nursing Home Complaints Continue
By YVETTE PRESBERRY
Published August 28, 2003 Southwest News-Herald – City Edition
On behalf of Wrightwood residents, one man is fighting in court some alleged criminal activities that occur in a nursery home on the Southwest Side.
Wrightwood resident Anthony Philbin, president of the Wrightwood Improvement Association, filed a complaint against the Illinois Department of Public Health, alleging that patient care is in jeopardy at Presidential Pavilion, 8001 S. Western Ave. According to Philbin’s complaint, some of Presidential’s patients have illegal narcotics inside the facility, and sell drugs on the street and in front of stores. Philbin also noted in his complaint that police have raided Presidential and arrested several people, and one resident stabbed another resident. During a pre-hearing on Aug. 21, Naomi Dunn, Deputy Chief Counsel for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that IDPH representatives talked to police in April who could not confirm of a raid.
There was evidence of a deficiency in operations of facility
Dunn said that there was a physical assault between two residents, though but a surveyor stood outside of Presidential for a number of hours and didn’t see Philbin’s claims.
Overall, there was only evidence of a deficiency in operations of the facility, said Dunn.
The pre-hearing was set for Philbin to discuss his complaint and present any other evidence that he had against Presidential. After Administration Law Judge Linda Maschek set the actual hearing for Sept. 23, Philbin warned that he would present Presidential’s allegations to the media if a sooner date was not set.
“This is too serious a problem,” he said.
Tammy Leonard, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Public Health, said that 66 complaints have been filed against Presidential since July 2002. Of that total, five were found to be valid.
Leonard also said that Presidential was fined $5,000 on April 29 because of a violation in food service sanitation.
While Presidential’s sewage water was backed up and flooding the kitchen, the facility’s staff continued cooking meals while standing on milk crates.
The Wrightwood facility is co-owned by Rabbi Morris I. Esformes, a successful magnate in the nursing home industry who owns several facilities in Illinois and Missouri.
Throughout the last few years, Esformes has been involved in litigations dealing with residential care in his nursing homes.
When Presidential’s staff members, residents and nearby businesses alleged of narcotic purchases and use by the residents in 2002, Esformes and Presidential administrator Michael Rosen refused comment after several calls were made to their offices by the News-Herald.
Both Esformes and Rosen were unable to be reached for this story. Dunn said that the state’s Department of Public Health can only investigate allegations that occur within a nursing home. “If, by chance, we overstep, we step into someone else’s jurisdiction,” said Dunn. The situation seems problematic because representatives from Ald. Thomas Murphy’s (18th) office said that local enforcement can only patrol the neighborhood outside and around Presidential.
Incidents that occur inside the facility fall under state jurisdiction. In order for a nursing home to close, a repeat occurrence of a federal violation has to happen in the facility,said Leonard. Annual surprise surveys are made by health inspectors who look at staff functions, residential care plans and other factors. If violations are found, the facility can be forced to make a correction plan or take one from the state’s health department. If the same problem happens again, then steps will be taken to revoke the facility’s license.
“Closing a facility is a process,” said Leonard.
Philbin was hoping to put an end to the allegations surrounding Presidential with a hearing with the state’s Public Health Department, but felt shut down in the pre-hearing.
He was advised by John Smock, project coordinator for the Wrightwood Community Development Corporation, to get a lawyer. However, Philbin said that he is not sure the WIA can afford one.
“I’m completely disgusted,” he said. “We’re over before it’s supposed to be started.” 5)
Bill Status of HR0085 94th General Assembly
Short Description: CONGRATS MORRIS I ESFORMES
Rep. Lou Lang
Date Chamber Action
2/8/2005 House Resolution Adopted
Synopsis As Introduced
Congratulates Rabbi Morris I. Esformes on the establishment of the “Rabbi Morris I. Esformes Professorship” at the University of Chicago.
Date Chamber Action
2/2/2005 House Filed with the Clerk by Rep. Lou Lang
2/8/2005 House Placed on Calendar Agreed Resolutions
2/8/2005 House Resolution Adopted
HR0085 LRB094 08111 HSS 39647 r
1 HOUSE RESOLUTION
2 WHEREAS, Rabbi Morris I. Esformes received a Bachelor of
3 Arts in social sciences in 1970 from Roosevelt University; he
4 attended Hebrew Theological College in Skokie and received his
5 Rabbinic Ordination in 1970; he has continued his education at
6 Roosevelt University by taking courses in social work; and
7 WHEREAS, Rabbi Esformes is a Managing General Partner at 20
8 nursing homes in two states, Florida and Illinois, and at
9 Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami, Florida, at Woodland
10 Towers in Deland, Florida, and at Park Plaza in Chicago; and
11 WHEREAS, Rabbi Esformes served as the Executive Director of
12 Arie Crown Hebrew Day School from 1973 to 1976 and as
13 Administrator at Birchwood Pavilion Nursing Home in Chicago
14 from 1970 to 1973; and
15 WHEREAS, He served on the State of Illinois Commission on
16 Mental Health in 1978 and on the Illinois Council for Long Term
17 Care as Vice-President from 1977 to 1979; and
18 WHEREAS, Rabbi Esformes has been actively involved in his
19 community; he is a Past President of Arie Crown Hebrew Day
20 School, and a board member for Hebrew Theological College,
21 Telshe Yeshiva, the Wisconsin Institute of Torah Study,
22 Associated Talmud Torahs, and Hannah Sachs Girls School; he is
23 President Emeritus of Morris Namias Hebrew Academy in New
24 Jersey and the founder of the Chicago Community Kollel; he is
25 on the National Board of Ben Gurion University in Israel and
26 Torah Umsorah and the board of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for
27 Holocaust Studies; he is a member of the Social Welfare
28 Committee of the Jewish Federation Committee of Metropolitan
29 Chicago, Past Vice President of Congregation Adas Yeschurum,
30 and Past President of Cong. Adas Bnai Israel; and
HR0085 – 2 – LRB094 08111 HSS 39647 r
1 WHEREAS, Rabbi Esformes has been the recipient of numerous
2 honors, including the Yissacher Zevulun Award from Lakewood
3 Yeshiva in 1980, the Founder Award of Telshe Yeshiva in 1981,
4 and the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago Morris Esformes
5 Scholarship Foundation; he was honored by Chicago Community
6 Kollel, Post-Graduate School for Rabbis in 1982 and by Arie
7 Crown Hebrew Day School in 1983; he was honored by American
8 Friends of Ohr Somavach in 1985, by American Friends of Kerem
9 B’Yavneh in 1985, by Lakewood Yeshiva in 1990, by Yeshiva
10 Gedola Ateres Mordechai in 1989, by Central Yeshiva Beth Joseph
11 in 1988, by Neve Yerushalayim in 1994, and by Yeshivas Brisk in
12 1998; and
13 WHEREAS, On Wednesday, February 9, 2005, a reception is
14 being held to celebrate the establishment of The Rabbi Morris
15 I. Esformes Professorship; therefore, be it
16 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
17 NINETY-FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that
18 we congratulate Rabbi Morris I. Esformes on the establishment
19 of a professorship in his honor at the University of Chicago;
20 and be it further
21 RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
22 presented to Rabbi Esformes as an expression of our respect and