Former nursing home resident claims staff neglected her

FOX Files
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS – Will your mom or dad get proper treatment in a nursing home or end up just another head in a bed?

Marion Thompson said she left Riverview Nursing Home on South Broadway because she was being neglected.

“I screamed for a good 10 to 15 minutes and they finally came in,” she said.

Thompson called us from a hospital room where she was recovering.

“They can’t keep help,” she said, describing problems at the nursing home. “You’re lucky to have two aids on a floor.” Thompson’s medical records state she was admitted to the hospital partly for “dehydration and disorientation.”

Records also say, “Per EMS, the (patient) hasn’t been taking her medications regularly from staff.”

Thompson blames the staff. “You pull for help. They come in and unplug the call light, turn it off, and then you don’t see them again, even if it’s for water,” she said. An inspection last year led to Riverview being denied government pay for new admits. The freeze lasted three months starting last July. Federal inspectors noted hot rooms, including one measuring 90.6 degrees.

An inspector wrote “the Certified Nursing Assistants said everyone was aware it was hot in the building, including administration” and that the “Director of Nurses … Did not think anything of it.”

The report states Riverview “immediately hired a new and competent maintenance director.

Attorney David Terry represents families suing nursing homes. He said the industry is sometimes more about money than care.

“You hear the term ‘heads in the bed,’ because that’s how they get paid, and so most of these decisions start from the ownership and they work their way down,” he said. Terry said most problems start with a lack of staff.

“They will often times cut staffing to save on their bottom line because every dollar you save on staffing increases the amount you have in your bank account,” he said. Terry said regulators cannot cite a nursing home for staff problems.

“In Missouri and at the federal level, there is no staffing ratio. There are some states that do have ratios, but Missouri is not one of them,” he said.

“A lot of them, not all of them, base their staffing just upon fire code, which means you have a minimal amount of staff members you’re required to have in case there’s a fire so you can get residents out.”

Terry said poor staffing at St. Sophia in Florissant led to his client’s mother being left alone in a bathtub for more than eight hours in July 2017. She died as a result.

“That shower room where the bathtub is is about 15 feet from the nurse’s station and nobody seemed to check on it. So it was a systemic failure, I think, primarily caused because there just weren’t enough staff members in the facility at the time.”

Meanwhile, Marion Thompson is working with her family to find a new facility.

“I want to live,” she said. “I’ve been fighting to live since last February.”

It was a year ago when she was healthy enough to leave hospice while living in Riverview. She said she’ll keep fighting.

“I have 25 grandchildren and six kids that I love deeply,” she said. Riverview did not respond to requests for comment about Thompson’s claims and the government payment freeze. Regarding the bathtub case, St. Sophia’s parent company MGM Healthcare wrote, “Our relationship with the facility was in its infancy when the unfortunate situation took place.”

MGM added that its investments have paid off and it has increased the nursing home’s government quality measures rating to “five out of five stars.”

The facility itself, St. Sophia also responded, saying it now has a “new administrator (and) director of nursing.”

You can view full reports of Missouri nursing homes online at the Department of Health and Social Services.

You can read the full statement from James Mason, Chief Operating Officer of MGM Healthcare, below:

“MGM Healthcare provides consulting and management services for skilled nursing facilities including St. Sophia Health and Rehabilitation Center in Florissant, MO. Our relationship with the facility was in its infancy when the unfortunate situation took place.

“When we were first engaged, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ratings for St. Sophia were lower. Today, the CMS Quality Measures Rating for St. Sophia is five out of five stars, with the facility exceeding Missouri and national averages on many measures. We immediately began investing to improve the facility, and over time are improving its performance.

“We help create a culture within skilled nursing facilities that is focused on continuous improvement, and by so doing are dedicated to empowering better living for residents who need rehabilitation, skilled and long-term care.”

Denise Thordsen, director of St. Sophia Health and Rehabilitation Center, issued this statement:

“St. Sophia is deeply committed to providing high-quality care for all of our residents. We respect the privacy of all our residents and their families, and federal law prevents us from commenting further on any specific events or treatment.

“St. Sophia is on a continual journey to be a place that is safe, comfortable, and that provides a high quality of care. Our commitment is demonstrated by the improvement in the ‘star’ ratings by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a staff that includes a new Administrator, Director of Nursing and an Assistant Director of Nursing, as well as the investments we have made in the facility over the past year. We look forward to continuing to serve the Florissant community for many more years.”

About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.


Latest News

More News