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Boulder City veterans nursing home loses 5-star rating after review

The Southern Nevada State Veterans Home has lost its long-held five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services following critical inspections earlier this year by federal authorities.

The Boulder City facility previously earned stars in all categories on the Medicare.gov website. It’s overall rating is now four stars — still rated as “above average” — but its rating for health inspections fell from five stars to two stars — “below average” on the Medicare.com site.

The Medicare.gov web page for the home, last updated on March 27, also includes a consumer alert warning that the home had been cited for potential issues related to abuse.

Surveyors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spent about a week at the Boulder City home in January and issued 18 citations for issues ranging from verbal abuse of a patient by Steven Pavlow, the licensed administrator who runs the home, to issues surrounding dispensing of psychoactive medications, food served at improper temperatures, and facility issues including employees not having keys to locked gates that would need to be opened in case of a fire.

“We were disappointed to see the rating change at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City,” said Ryan Cherry, chief of staff to Gov. Joe Lombardo. “As a result of the CMS report, NDVS will seek to implement immediate changes at the home. Under the new leadership of Director (Mary) Devine, we are confident that the SNSVH will work quickly to improve its rating, so it is able to provide the highest level of care for Nevada veterans.”

In an email, Nevada Department of Veterans Services Communications Director Terri Hendry wrote, “NDVS is continuing to work through the CMS annual recertification survey process. CMS recently accepted the home’s plan of correction, meaning all survey findings have been addressed and corrected.”

Devine is quoted in the statement saying that while the surveyors’ findings were not of physical abuse, “we take any allegation of abuse surrounding resident care or welfare to be extremely serious. Verbal and mental resident abuse will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”

The statement said 10 general areas were cited as lower-level tags and isolated cases, including the allegation of verbal and mental abuse. It said 11 findings surrounding building code issues were all resolved as of March 8.

“Following the most recent survey, the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home now has an overall CMS Quality Star Rating of 4-Stars, which remains above average,” the statement said, quoting Devine as saying the department is working toward restoring the home’s five-star rating.

“We remain committed to providing quality care, comfort, and safety to our veteran residents as they deserve no less than our very best,” Devine said in the statement.

The Nevada Department of Veterans Services and the governor’s office have yet to address questions including the status of Pavlow, whom other employees reported has been on administrative leave since early March. They have also failed to provide headcount numbers, which were requested when the Boulder City Review reported on issues with COVID testing of employees.

NDVS refused to answer those questions and said the matter has been sent to the Nevada attorney general. The AG’s office has yet to acknowledge that or to provide the requested information.

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