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Sunshine Haven Nursing Operations v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

United States District Court of New Mexico
2016 WL 9777239 (2016)


Sunshine Haven Nursing Operations (Sunshine) (plaintiff) was a nursing facility. An administrative law judge (ALJ) found that Sunshine was in violation of numerous federal regulations with regards to the quality of its facilities. Specifically, facility surveys found that (1) Sunshine was not providing its residents with the proper number of baths. The surveyor testified that this deficiency caused more than a risk of minimal harm. Sunshine submitted a plan of correction for the bath issue and addressed the deficiencies several weeks later. Another survey found that (2) a Sunshine staff member failed to use proper body transfer techniques, resulting in the bruising of a resident. Sunshine claimed that the bruises were suffered from an unavoidable accident. Sunshine also ordered the staff member who improperly transferred the resident to attend training, but did not submit documentation that the staff member attended training. Finally, another survey found that (3) Sunshine failed to have sufficient smoke detectors, sprinklers, and fire-rated walls and ceilings. Sunshine made improvements in this area, but was still found to not be in substantial compliance several months later. The surveyor told Sunshine that having contracts in place for corrections would constitute substantial compliance. Sunshine executed such contracts. Due to these deficiencies, Sunshine was assessed penalties and its agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was terminated. A Health and Human Services board (defendant) upheld these penalties. The case was brought before the United States District Court of New Mexico.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Browning, J.)

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