Audit: Redbanks Skilled Nursing Center a 'HIPAA Compliance Disaster'

Allegations of questionable contracts, security lapses and HIPAA violations put a Henderson nursing home facility under fire. These allegations come after two major shake-ups in the company's leadership.

Allegations of questionable contracts, security lapses and HIPAA violations put a Henderson nursing home facility under fire. These allegations come after two major shake-ups in the company's leadership.

In May 2013, Mark Chumbler was brought on as the executive director of Red Banks Skilled Nursing Center. The facility's previous executive director was Chris Page. When Chumbler took over, he made a number of positive changes and implemented new programs which began to turn the facility around, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. On August 13th, it was revealed that Chumbler was no longer working at the facility. The previous week, it was announced that two board members, Joan Hoffman and Doug Bell had resigned. In a statement, their decision to resign "stemmed from a long standing concern over the manner in which the board conducted its business."

The questions now enveloping the nursing home facility were prompted by an independent audit apparently conducted at the request of Chumbler prior to his departure.

"Simply put, Redbanks Skilled Nursing Center was a HIPAA compliance disaster," the audit stated. "This organization was at HIGH risk."

The audit further alleges that active medical records were not kept in a locked area.

"Anyone who had the ability to turn a door knob and push open the door to the medical records room had the ability to view or take medical records without supervision," the audit stated. "Since there was no formal monitoring of the entrances/exits throughout more than half of the hours in a week, this means that even individuals walking in off the street had access to all records stored in the medical records room."

Henderson County Judge Executive Hugh McCormick is closely monitoring the situation at Redbanks. The facility is one of the largest employers in the county.

"It's a great big shock and concern," McCormick said. "You just don't want these types of things to happen in your home, not here in my place."

McCormick said the county and fiscal court is limited in what it can do because Redbanks is a private, non-profit company. Redbanks is a division of Henderson County Healthcare Corporation.

The audit also raised numerous, employee and human relations-related allegations. The nursing center frequently re-hired former employees who had previously been fired, sometimes multiple times, according to the audit. The compliance with federal labor laws was 'spotty' and employees would often work seven consecutive days without overtime, according to the audit.

"Attendance rules were not consistent with good continuity of care and were not enforced uniformly," the audit stated. "For example, under the former attendance rules, a team member could be late to work approximately 50 times per year before being terminated."

The auditors also raised questions about some of the facility's contracts with major vendors in addition to possible conflicts of interest.

"Most of the large vendor contracts for the Skilled Nursing Center were with companies owned by Wells Health System owners, Hargis & Associates owners or affiliates of owners of these two companies," the audit stated. Wells Health Systems, a nursing consultant, and Hargis & Associates, an accounting firm, were both listed on Redbank's 2012 federal tax return, according to records obtained by Eyewitness News. This was well before Chumbler was hired as executive director.

McCormick's father was on Redbank's first Board of Directors many decades ago. Even though the situation is concerning, McCormick said, he hopes the situation is resolved quickly and the problems are rectified.

"You take care of your young people because they're your future and you take care of your senior citizens because they gave you what you got," McCormick said. "We need to make sure that we take care of ours."

Our calls to Wells Health Systems and Redbanks were not returned.

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