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Cottonwood ban dropped

Andy Bourelle

Cottonwood Care Center’s ban on admissions was lifted yesterday.

The Nevada Bureau of Licensure and Certification has issued a provisional license to Cottonwood. Since the ban on admissions was instituted after Cottonwood failed its annual licensure survey in May, the number of residents has dropped below 80.

Cottonwood’s capacity is 125, and the provisional license will allow up to 100 patients. When the facility has occupancy in the 90s, Assistant Administrator Michael Jacobs said Cottonwood would notify the bureau of licensure. At that time, officials would come back to do a “really quick survey” and then allow Cottonwood to admit up to its full capacity if it passed.

“We’re ready,” Jacobs said Tuesday. “We’re going to start admitting immediately. We’ll grow slowly, just to make sure everything’s going OK. But we’re ready to get moving again.”

Jacobs said he estimated Cottonwood would be ready for the “really quick survey” in about a month.

The state also is recommending the Federal Healthcare Financing Administration stop the termination process of Cottonwood’s Medicare license and to all sanctions against the Ranchos care center, including the $3,000-a-day fine in place since May.

Both Jacobs and Acting Chief of the Bureau of Licensure and Certification Rick Panelli said they saw no reason the federal agency would not follow the state’s recommendations.

The lifted ban comes as a result of the state’s second follow-up survey done Oct. 14 to 17. The state informed Cottonwood’s administrators the facility still had some minor deficiencies. When an acceptable plan of correction was returned, the state agreed to issue the provisional license and make the recommendations to the federal agency.

Jacobs said the deficiencies were minor. The most significant of the deficiencies dealt with investigating and reporting complaints of patient abuse. The state requires a long-term care facility to report any alleged instances of abuse within 24 hours and found Cottonwood failed to do this in three cases.

Jacobs said Cottonwood has already instituted a new policy and procedure to correct the problem. He said all allegations of abuse would be reported immediately and investigated in accordance with state and federal requirements.

Cottonwood failed its annual licensure survey in May. The state acknowledged Cottonwood had made several improvements by its August survey, but still had major deficiencies. The state found the majority of the problems to be taken care of by the October survey.