HAMLET — Richmond Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has been taken off 24-hour “fire watch,” Hamlet Fire Chief Calvin White said Wednesday.
But even though the home’s sprinkler system has been repaired and inspected, White said, he will continue sporadic inspections because the home has had “so many problems.”
After this year’s first snowfall and freeze, the nursing home moved some patients because of burst pipes and the unrelated collapse of the sprinkler system, White said.
Workers repaired the system once only for it to fail again. It’s now in working order, White said, so employees no longer must “walk the wings checking rooms” for fire all day, every day.
Richmond Pines also has informed the Nursing Home Licensure and Certification Section about its water difficulties and planned repairs, a spokeswoman for that state office said.
White said he had received “three or four” anonymous reports of safety problems at the home during the past few weeks; they were one reason he inspected the home in the first place. The complaints — he presumed they were from staff — have ceased, he said.
Richmond Pines Administrator Kelly E. Gorham has refused to comment on the water and sprinkler issues. Notices bearing her name and posted on staff bulletin boards during the week of Hamlet’s first snowfall forbade staff from making comments “to the media.”
In mid-2017, CMS — a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services — prohibited Richmond Pines from filing for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements as a result of a series of infractions documented by inspectors. The nursing home’s corporate owners also have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in fines as a result of those infractions.
In October, Richmond County Superior Court ordered the owners of Richmond Pines to pay $1.4 million to the family of a former resident who died as the result of poor care.