Sandia Ridge Center

If your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse at Sandia Ridge Center, you are not alone. Sandia Ridge Center is a special focus facility candidate that Medicare has flagged for abuse. This calls the safety of all residents into question.

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Every nursing home has a legal and ethical obligation to provide patients with a reasonable standard of care in a safe, supportive environment. When a nursing home falls short, it is liable for medical malpractice.  

The Albuquerque nursing home abuse attorneys at Levin & Perconti know what it takes to hold negligent and abusive nursing homes accountable.

About Sandia Ridge Center

Sandia Ridge Center is a 136-bed facility located at: 

2216 Lester Drive Northeast 
Albuquerque, NM 87112 
Phone: 505-296-4808 

Sandia Ridge Center is VA-contracted and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance. The facility offers spacious private or semi-private rooms, a garden courtyard area, a beauty parlor/barber shop, and a fireplace. It provides the following services: 

  • Short-stay care 
  • Long-term care 
  • Respite care 
  • Palliative care 
  • Rehabilitation therapy 
  • Hospice care 

Sandia Ridge Center is owned by Genesis HealthCare, a for-profit corporation and one of the largest nursing home providers in the United States. Genesis HealthCare has a history of understaffing its facilities and providing substandard care.  

In 2017, the United States Justice Department characterized Genesis HealthCare as an unscrupulous provider. This characterization came after the company agreed to a $53.6 million settlement for filing false claims for unnecessary and substandard services.

Sandia Ridge Center Ratings

According to the Nursing Home Database, Sandia Ridge Center is ranked as number 18 out of 20 facilities within a 10-mile radius and 19 out of 21 facilities within a 25-mile radius. It has a rating of 3.4 on Google reviews. Medicare has given this facility a 1-star rating, the lowest rating available.

History of Nursing Home Abuse at Sandia Ridge Center

Medicare has flagged Sandia Ridge Center for abuse, which means the facility has been repeatedly cited for abuse in the past.  

During their inspection on August 12, 2022, Medicare inspectors discovered a potential sexual abuse incident. A resident with dementia who was unable to dress or undress herself tended to wander and attempt to hold patients’ hands.  

During one such incident, nursing staff found her in the bed of a male patient with her pants and briefs removed. The male resident was standing next to the bed with his pants down.  

During their interviews with the inspector, nursing staff stated that they did not believe the patient was capable of removing her own pants and briefs. No one on the nursing staff knows what occurred since the resident was not supervised at the time.  

In another incident discovered during the same inspection, Medicare learned that a certified nursing assistant had roughly grabbed a patient’s arms, resulting in bruising. However, the incident was never reported to the New Mexico Department of Health as required by law.

Health Violations and Safety Concerns at Sandia Ridge Center

Sandia Ridge Center has been fined $110,673 during the last 3 years. It has been inspected 41 times since 2004, an indication that the facility has a chronic track record of complaints and noncompliance.  

During the past year, Medicare has found 27 deficiencies. The national average is 8.4, and the state average is 15.5. Medicare performed 3 complaint inspections in 2022 alone. In the last 3 years, 17 complaints have resulted in citations.

Complaint Inspections

Medicare found the following deficiencies during the three complaint inspections in 2022: 

  • Failure to provide necessary feeding assistance  
  • Failure to monitor fluid intake and signs of dehydration  
  • Failure to perform neurological examinations following unwitnessed falls  
  • Failure to provide pain management to a patient who was in constant discomfort  
  • Delay of more than 12 hours in sending a patient to the emergency room and providing pain management after an unwitnessed fall, despite the patient’s obvious pain  
  • Failure to immediately notify the physician of a change in a patient’s consciousness, potentially resulting in her death  
  • Multiple instances of failure to provide showers due to being short-staffed, to such a degree that at least one patient sometimes only received one shower every two weeks  
  • Failure to investigate and return patients’ stolen or misplaced belongings  
  • Failure to employ enough staff to transfer patients using a Hoyer lift and change resident diapers in a timely manner

Annual Health Inspection

During the annual health inspection on November 23, 2021, inspectors identified an occurrence of patient-to-patient sexual assault and an ongoing risk of more incidents. 

Inspectors found an improperly supervised dementia patient with sexual disinhibition and aggressive tendencies. This resulted in at least one resident’s sexual assault. Other patients were found alone with the offending patient in rooms that he had barricaded in an attempt to prevent staff from entering. 

During interviews with the inspector, nursing home staff blamed the lack of supervision on inadequate staffing.  

Additional findings during the annual inspection include the following: 

Quality of Care at Sandia Ridge Center

Sandia Ridge Center’s history of substandard care has earned the facility a position on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ list of Special Focus Facility candidates. Special Focus Facility candidates are the poorest performing nursing homes in each state. 

Special Focus Facilities are subject to more frequent inspections and progressive enforcement, including fines and payment suspensions until the facility graduates from the program. If the facility fails to make the necessary improvements in a reasonable period, it could lose its Medicare and Medicaid certification. 

Sandia Ridge Center currently has a 3-star rating, which is average, but the facility continues to suffer from significant areas of concern.

Short-Stay Areas of Concern

Medicare’s rating of Sandia Ridge Center’s short-stay quality of care is above average, with the following areas of concern: 

  • The percentage of short-stay residents who received antipsychotic medication for the first time is triple the national average. 
  • The percentage of short-stay residents who improved their independent mobility is lower than the national average. 
  • The percentage of residents who are at or above an expected ability to care for themselves at discharge is only 40.9, compared to a national average of 46.9 percent.

Long-Term Care Areas of Concern

Medicare’s long-stay quality rating of Sandia Ridge Center is below average at 2 stars. Medicare has noted the following areas of concern: 

  • 23.1 percent of residents receive antipsychotic medication, compared to 14.5 percent nationally and 16.8 percent statewide. 
  • Patients at Sandia Ridge Center are more likely than patients at other facilities nationwide and statewide to receive an indwelling catheter. 
  • 23.1 percent of long-term residents at Sandia Ridge Center experience worsened mobility compared to 17.2 percent nationally and 19.2 percent statewide. 
  • 28.6 percent of Sandia Ridge Center residents become less capable of performing activities of daily living compared to the 14.7 percent national average and 17.1 percent state average. 
  • Residents at Sandia Ridge Center are more likely to lose too much weight than residents of other nursing homes across the state and nation.

What To Do if You Suspect Abuse at Sandia Ridge Center

If you suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected at Sandia Ridge Center, you can report the abuse to the New Mexico Health Facility Complaints Hotline by calling 1-800-752-8649.  

Alternatively, you can contact the New Mexico long-term care ombudsman at 1-800-451-2901.  

A long-term care ombudsman provides patient advocacy services, including visitation of your loved one and abuse investigations. The New Mexico Division of Health Improvement oversees investigations of complaints and requires skilled nursing facilities to self-investigate and provide the results within five days. 

If your loved one is in immediate danger, it is essential to contact 911 and alert the Albuquerque Police Department. Some forms of nursing home abuse and neglect incur criminal penalties. These cases are investigated by the police.

When you are ready to seek civil justice for your loved one, contact an Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyer.

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Levin & Perconti Will Fight for You

Levin & Perconti has a track record of standing up to nursing homes and holding them accountable for the harm they cause innocent residents. Our successful case results for injured nursing home residents include the following: 

  • $1.5 million settlement for an 87-year-old nursing home resident who sustained severe burns after being placed in a scalding sitz bath 
  • $1.4 million settlement for a nursing home resident who developed bedsores 
  • $1 million settlement for a resident who suffered multiple falls, with the last leading to her death after the nursing home failed to change her care plan to prevent falls 

If your loved one has experienced maltreatment at Sandia Ridge Center, you can count on our nursing home abuse lawyers to provide compassionate advocacy and aggressive representation until your loved one receives justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.