Complaints about 11 Mass. nursing homes

I discovered this Boston Globe story a couple of weeks ago about Braemoor Health Center in Boston, where owners took $1.9 million in pay in 2014 while there has been a decline in resident care there since Synergy Health Centers purchased the facility. There have been complaints about the care and supplies available for the residents. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe discovered that $900,000 from Braemoor went to one or more of Synergy's management companies. Synergy also has mortgages of $99 million.

In 2012, Synergy began purchasing facilities in the Boston area. Synergy is owned by Larry Lipschutz and his son, Avi. Since they purchased Braemoor, resident care has declined and the facility has received several federal and state citations. Under its previous ownership, Braemoor had good survey reports from the Massachusetts Department of Health.

I have read reviews of Synergy Health Centers online written by present and former employees – all of whom have worked for a year or less. Many liked the environment. But, those who were hired by the previous owner and let go sometime after Synergy took over gave no positive comments.

The Boston Globe article says records show that Synergy spends less that the state norm of $100 per day for each resident’s care—sometimes considerably less.

In Massachusetts only the person who requests the nursing home license is required to have a background check, not the members of affiliated companies. Therefore, the state did not know that one of the owners owes outstanding fines for code violations for an apartment building he ran in New Jersey. The state public health commissioner released a statement saying her agency needs to overhaul its review of nursing home licensing—in order to ensure that residents are receiving quality care.

Synergy's cofounders, through their public relations firm, refused to answer a list of questions or be interviewed for the December Boston Globe story. Synergy owns facilities and is responsible for the care of more than 1,200 residents. The company headquarters is located in a small office in a nondescript building in New Jersey.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services say there has been a decline in nurse staffing levels—specifically in nurse aides, who do the majority of the care. Also, there has been an increase in pressure sores at their facilities.

This story was published two days before Christmas, so I wondered if it would be widely read. The Boston Globe has been following the complaints against Synergy for months. Here is a link to a story published in May 2015 about Braemoor and other Synergy facilities.

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