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The Florida Times Union

Appeal allows Jacksonville nursing home to remain open

The 1st District Court of Appeal grants Glenwood Nursing Center a stay while the case goes on.

Posted: August 2, 2010
By Deirdre Conner

The closure of a Jacksonville nursing home is on hold indefinitely while the center argues its case in court.

The 1st District Court of Appeal granted the Glenwood Nursing Center a stay that will allow it to keep operating while the case goes on. In the meantime, the center agreed to be inspected every six months.

State authorities had ordered the center to close by Aug. 26, saying it failed to stop disturbed residents from hurting themselves and others.

A majority of Glenwood’s residents are geropsychiatric patients, suffering from conditions that ranged from diabetes and stroke to Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

Dick Feldman, a representative of Glenwood, said the center’s owners were pleased with the order issued Friday. He has maintained that the center has always corrected problems and cares for patients few other homes would accept.

For now, relocation efforts have ceased, said Shelisha Durden, a spokeswoman for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

Yet everything is not back to normal at the center.

The Attorney General’s Office confirmed last week it has an active investigation into the nursing center that began within the last two weeks.

And some residents have already left, either through relocation or voluntary transfers arranged by family members. Among them was Johnny Wright, husband to Mary Lee Wright. She moved him to Park Ridge Nursing Center in Riverside.

She said the center doesn’t need to be closed — just cleaned up.

“It needs new management,” she said. She said she believed the center would get needed extra scrutiny while the case goes on.

The center is down about a dozen residents since the closure became public on July 16, said Michael Milliken, who oversees the First Coast District of the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

The ombudsmen work for the welfare of residents in facilities such as nursing homes. Regardless of the legal case, they will remain, Milliken said. Ombudsmen, composed mostly of volunteers, have been at the center at least a few times per week since the center’s license was revoked, he said.

“We’ll still do the monitoring. We’ll continue what we have been doing, which is making sure residents are treated correctly,” he said. 

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration moved to shutter the center in July. But after the revocation, attorneys for the center appealed the decision, saying it hadn’t been given enough time to respond to the charges. 

Lawyers for the center say they planned to file a response and ask for a hearing, but weren’t given the proper amount of time. The agency said the center missed the deadline to file.

deirdre.conner@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4504