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Veterans Home loses 5-star rating

As multiple experts said they expected after news of the most recent inspection of the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home by federal authorities came to light, the home located in Boulder City has lost its long-held and vaunted five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Where visitors to the medicare.gov site once saw five-star ratings in every category (Health Inspections, Staffing and Quality Measures), they are now met with a two-star, below average rating in the area of Health Inspections. At the top of the page, they will also see a large, red warning symbol. Clicking on or mousing over that will reveal the following: “This nursing home has been cited for abuse.”

As reported previously, surveyors from CMS spent about a week at SNSVH in January and that inspection resulted in 18 citations for issues ranging from verbal abuse of a patient by Steven Pavlow, the licensed administrator who runs the home, to issues surrounding dispensing of psychoactive medications, food served at improper temperatures, facility issues including employees not having keys to locked gates that would need to be opened in case of a fire.

“We were disappointed to see the rating change at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City,” said Ryan Cherry, chief of staff to Governor Joe Lombardo. “As a result of the CMS report, NDVS will seek to implement immediate changes at the home. Under the new leadership of Director Devine, we are confident that the SNSVH will work quickly to improve its rating, so it is able to provide the highest level of care for Nevada veterans.”

In an email, NDVS Communications Director Terri Hendry wrote, “NDVS is continuing to work through the CMS annual recertification survey process. CMS recently accepted the home’s plan of correction, meaning all survey findings have been addressed and corrected.

“Regarding the finding of verbal and mental abuse, as mentioned in our previous statement on 3/20/24, NDVS Director Mary Devine is on record as stating, “While this was not a finding of physical abuse, we take any allegation of abuse surrounding resident care or welfare to be extremely serious. Verbal and mental resident abuse will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”

The NDVS statement continued, “Clinically, 10 general areas were cited as lower-level tags and isolated cases, including the allegation of verbal and mental abuse. The 11 findings surrounding building code issues were all resolved as of March 8, 2024. Following the most recent survey, the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home now has an overall CMS Quality Star Rating of 4-Stars, which remains above average.”

Devine said, “We are already working toward improving our rating to the highest 5-Star rating as quickly as possible,” adding, “We remain committed to providing quality care, comfort, and safety to our veteran residents as they deserve no less than our very best.”

NDVS and the governor’s office have yet to address questions including the status of Pavlow who other employees report has been on administrative leave since early March. They have also failed to provide headcount numbers, which were requested when the Review reported on issues with Covid testing of employees.

NDVS refused to answer those questions and said the matter has been sent to the Nevada attorney general. The AG’s office has yet to acknowledge that or to provide the requested information.

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