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13 OYS reports prompt internal investigation of neglect claims at GR-area care facility

The facility's parent company said the investigation would be 'extensive.'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In a new development tied to a series of reports by the 13 Help Team, the owners of a Kent County long-term care facility have launched an internal investigation into claims of neglect by residents.

The claims continued to surface as current and former residents approached 13 ON YOUR SIDE with concerns of their own after it first broke news of the allegations against SKLD East Beltline last week.

The mother of Tony Traxler, a resident who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said in an interview conducted at the time that staff had dropped her son, resulting in a gash on Traxler’s head that required five staples to close.

She also claimed Traxler had been left covered in vomit for several hours after aspirating.

Other residents, family members and loved ones have claimed personal possessions have repeatedly turned-up missing, described waiting hours for food or care, falling when left unattended and transfer requests or complaints summarily dismissed by staff members.

Another resident alleged SKLD's negligence led to what she viewed as the “preventable amputation” of a foot while under the facility’s care.

The 13 Help Team attempted repeatedly to contact SKLD Beltline administrators but had yet to receive a response at the time of publication.

In a statement provided to 13 ON YOUR SIDE in response to a message submitted via the SKLD website, Illuminate HC, which owns numerous care facilities in the Midwest, including those operating under the ‘SKLD’ moniker, Vice-President Henry Boutros related the following:

“SKLD’s first and utmost priority is the safety and well-being of our residents. It is our policy to provide professional care and services in an environment that is free from any type of abuse. SKLD adheres to the federal guidelines dedicated to prevention of abuse/neglect, which is something we take very seriously. We are proud of the compassionate care our staff provide; and are saddened to see them painted in a negative light. We are conducting an extensive internal investigation on the concerns brought forward. Due to privacy concerns we would not be able to elaborate any further on our internal investigation.”

During a Wednesday phone call, Boutros provided several insights into the process set into motion. State and federal regulators, he noted, may become involved depending upon what the company’s internal investigation reveals and would then likely conduct their own, independent investigations.

Boutros thanked 13 ON YOUR SIDE for bringing the allegations to light.

In response to an emailed request for comment and industry insights, Medicare told us an answer would be forthcoming.

This story will be updated with any relevant additional details as new information is received.

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