Bethlehem Press

Sunday, March 29, 2020
press photo by bernie o’hareRaymond Soto, Gracedale’s administrator, admits facility “dropped the ball” in how it responded to a suicide threat. press photo by bernie o’hareRaymond Soto, Gracedale’s administrator, admits facility “dropped the ball” in how it responded to a suicide threat.

Gracedale loses rating over resident suicide

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by Bernie O’Hare Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

For years, Gracedale has been trying to sell the licenses for its 37 excess beds. It finally sealed a deal with Wyndmoore Care Center for $700,000. Payment is to be received on or before Oct. 30. In addition to the revenue, this sale paves the way to higher Medicaid reimbursement rates when 90 percent or more of the licensed beds are filled. Gracedale is now at 98 percent capacity.

But Gracedale’s new administrator, Raymond Soto, also had some bad news for Northampton County Council at its Oct. 20 meeting. Those higher rates are in jeopardy, thanks to a “G” level deficiency. It’s current 4-star rating may drop.

This “G” level deficiency, meaning one that caused actual harm, is the result of the way the nursing home responded to a resident’s suicide attempt. On Sept. 15, a resident told a nurse’s aide that she was going to commit suicide. When the aide went to get help from a supervisor, the resident took a magnifying glass, broke it, and slit her wrists. “We are totally responsible for that,” said Soto. “We dropped the ball in that situation.” He explained that proper protocol would have been to remain with the resident and buzz for help.

Gracedale reported itself, and the state Department of Health could have imposed a $3,000 fine and closed the facility to future admissions. But on Oct. 18, the state accepted a plan of corrective action from the nursing home that includes education of the entire staff and actively identifying any resident with suicidal ideas. The “G” level deficiency, however, will remain in Gracedale’s record for three years.

Bob Werner and Hayden Phillips complained that they were not immediately informed of the incident ,as well as the bed sale. Acting Administrator Cathy Allen apologized, and said these details are usually disclosed to the Advisory Board, but there was no meeting in September. Phillips agreed that the nurse’s aide did what she thought was right and was under a lot of pressure.