Tampa seniors forced from nursing home - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa seniors forced from nursing home

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LUTZ, FL (WFLA) -

Lakeside Villas, with it picturesque fountain and wooded property, looks like an inviting place to spend your golden years. But federal and state officials say a history of violations is forcing a suspension of Medicare payments.

But federal health regulators are cutting off all Medicaid and Medicare payments after Aug. 12. This follows a decision by state regulators to not renew Lakeshore's license. Lakeshore has been given 14 severe deficiencies since 2010.

One of the latest was this spring, when staff allegedly failed to help a patient in cardiac arrest. Other violations involved children not given "meaningful" activities.

Without funding, the nursing center is closing. That means about 112 seniors have to move.

Peggy Bamford's 94 year old mother, Elsie Harch, has lived there for more than four years. "This is my mother's home. And it was like she was being evicted even though she paid her rent. They're throwing her out," said Bamford. 

Elsie has dementia and is not aware she's about to be uprooted. "From our perspective that's a really good thing for her because she's very happy. She just sees us coming and she's happy, " said Bamford.

On the day after the July 4th holiday, residents of Lakeshore Villas got a letter from the Agency for Healthcare Administration. It state if they're a Medicare or Medicaid patient, they're gonna have to move if they want the feds to continue to pay for their care. The deadline: August 12th.

The Bamford's are already scoping out potential new locations for Elsie, but Peggy worries about others with no family to help them, like an elderly man she knows who's wife is in the Lakeshore nursing facility. "She's gonna move. He has no way, no way of going to see her. Sees her three times a day now and takes care of her," she said, holding back tears. 

The Department of Children and Families is helping find locations for displaced residents. "I would ask anybody who has a family member; would you want your family member to be placed by DCF? How much time is given to the placement?" asked Joe Bamford, Elsie's grandson.

Many of the families of residents, though, say they weren't aware of these problems.

David Nunez says his 80-year-old father is happy at Lakeshore. He says every experience he's had with Lakeshore staff has been positive.

"They all have a good attitude, they have a smile on their face," Nunez said. "They take really good care of my father and are very sweet to him. That's what i see when I'm there."

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