Audit: Erwin Health Care Center ‘inappropriately’ charged nursing home residents for adult diapers

ERWIN, TN (WJHL) –   A recent audit by the state raised some questions about a local nursing home’s handling of funds back in 2012.

The state of Tennessee took a look at a Medicaid cost report for the Erwin Health Care Center in Unicoi County. The report covers the period of January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

According to the report, 27 nursing home residents on Medicaid were “inappropriately” charged to their trust fund accounts for diapers — a Medicaid-covered item.  According to the “Medicaid Bulletin, “diaper’s cloth and/or disposable, is a nursing facility responsibility and considered a covered service.”  The publication also says, “For covered items, the nursing facility may charge no more than the difference between the cost of an item and/or service it provides and one specifically requested by the named resident.”

As a result, the state says the facility should reimburse 2,668.88 it inappropriately charged to the trust funds of 27 Medicaid residents.

Management at the nursing home facility agreed and reported to the state that it has refunded residents, their families or estates. Erwin Health Care Center said the employee who  was “instrumental” in this practice no longer works there and “she has been gone for almost a year.”

However, the state auditor says “as of May 23, 2017, management has provided canceled checks as evidence that $560.16 has been refunded to residents or their authorized representatives. The remaining $2,108.72 has yet to clear the bank.”

In addition, the audit pointed out the nursing home improperly managed credit balances and failed to deposit residents’ funds into an interest-bearing account.

Erwin Health Care Center was examined by the state because it participates in the Tennessee Medical Assistance Program.

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