Coupeville Careage facility closed to new patients due to violations

Careage of Whidbey, a skilled-nursing facility in Coupeville, has been closed to new patients since December 17 because it had too many violations of nursing-home regulations, owner Ron Hayes said. It could re-open as early as Feb. 12, when state inspectors are scheduled to re-survey the institution, Hayes said.

“This was a shock, and I’m very, very upset about it,” the Freeland resident said. “I’d like to think we’re better than that, as we always have been. I don’t ever want to see this happen again.”

A routine annual inspection by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently found as many as 40  deficiencies in Careage’s procedures, said Sean O’Neill, Careage’s acting director.

The most severe dealt with the building itself, such as leaks in the roof, he said. None posed a threat to residents’ health or safety, he said. Because of those deficiencies, a temporary stop placement was imposed, meaning Careage is not allowed to take in new patients, though it may continue to care for those who are already there. Some patients were moved to make them more accessible to nurses, Hayes said. Careage brought in outside consultants to help rectify the problems and has changed some staff positions and added staff, he said. A total of 70 patients are currently at the facility, out of a total of 112 beds.

“We’re advising the state that we will have made all the changes they requested by Feb. 4,” Hayes said.