Poloncarz, Hogues Call for Change in Ownership of Emerald South Nursing Home

Modified: August 23, 2018 10:02am

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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by Commissioner of Senior Services Timothy Hogues and concerned citizens in front of Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to call on the NYS Department of Health (“NYSDOH”) to place that facility into receivership while a search for new ownership is conducted. NYSDOH is investigating recent allegations of sexual abuse at Emerald South, which has also been the site of two resident fatalities within the past two years.

“The current situation at Emerald South Nursing Home is unacceptable and is obviously placing residents in danger. Two years ago, the death of Ruth Murray following an attack by another resident at this facility brought the lack of staffing and poor patient care at this facility into the spotlight. That was compounded when another resident, William Strasner, fell to his death from a third-floor window here in June,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Now we are here after another alleged incident involving patient abuse as well as multiple accusations of unsafe working conditions for employees, including conditions that put the public at risk. It is time to seek new ownership for this facility, as the current ownership is incapable of providing adequate staffing and supervision for the individuals entrusted to them. These men and women deserve to be treated with dignity, kindness and compassion, not neglect and abuse. I urge the NYS Department of Health, which is currently investigating the abuse allegations, to place this facility into receivership while a new owner is found.”

“Ruthie’s Law” was adopted in Erie County in June 2017as a way to better protect senior citizens in nursing homes and provide current information to their loved ones and family members. The law, which requires nursing homes in Erie County to inform a designated individual within two hours after a resident suffers an injury that requires hospital treatment, is named in memory of Ruth Murray, a nursing home resident at emerald South who died in 2016 following a physical altercation with another resident. Murray’s daughter, Carol Smith Kuszniaj, did not learn of the altercation involving her mother or its seriousness for hours after the event occurred.

“We must act to protect senior citizens wherever they are and especially in facilities that are charged with providing care,” said Commissioner of Senior Services Timothy Hogues. “A change in ownership here at Emerald South is necessary to bring the dignity and quality of care these individuals deserve.”

In March 2017 Poloncarz signed his sixteenth Executive Order affirming nursing home accountability and creating a county website publicizing the rankings of nursing homes in Erie County. That website has been visited 12,510 times since its introduction, with 374 views in July 2018 alone.

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Senior Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/seniorservices/