For Immediate Release:
October 10, 2007
Contact: Harvey M. Rice
Butkovitz Releases Audit of Riverview Home
Cites Concerns with Security, Diet and Nutrition and the Pharmacy
(Philadelphia)— City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released his audit of Riverview, a personal care home, operated by the City, for approximately 135 elderly citizens. Riverview provides shelter, meals, supervision and assistance with personal tasks.
Butkovitz stated, “seniors, in the care of the City, are someone’s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends. If the City assumes the responsibility to care for them as they live out their remaining years –the City must provide them a quality of care and dignity everyone should receive.”
The Controller’s report uncovered a number of inadequacies in the following three areas: security, diet and nutrition, and the pharmacy.
Butkovitz added, “Security concerns are heightened by the opening of a homeless shelter on the grounds of the facility. Because of the homeless shelter’s location inside the Riverview grounds, homeless residents have full access to the facility at large so they can enter and leave at will. This arrangement also puts them in contact with elderly residents who roam the grounds of the facility. This also allows the homeless clientele to enter the non-homeless cottages through side doors. In one instance — a man with a gun confronted a guard inside the shelter.”
Other security concerns founded include: the homeless shelter guard is only on duty from 10:00 A.M. to 10 P.M. Homeless clientele were observed by my investigators freely coming and going in and out of the shelter before 10:00 AM without anyone stopping or checking them, searches of people entering the homeless shelter – when they do occur – are inadequate at best, easy access could be gained through open and unsecured side access doors that are not visible from the guard’s station, and barbed wire is missing in certain sections of the perimeter fencing.
There have been at least two documented instances where individuals gained unauthorized entry to Riverview. In one case, a male intruder found his way into the women’s residence.
Butkovitz emphasized the heightened risk associated with the location of the homeless shelter by citing that in calendar 2006, the police arrested a man inside the shelter who had confronted a guard with a gun. Other police reports detail a theft of cash and property and the discovery of crack cocaine.
Butkovitz continued, “Our findings around the diet and nutrition include: current menus are certified as being appropriate for individuals between the ages of 19-50 years — while the average age of the residents at Riverview is 67, failure to perform inspections by an independent registered sanitarian in violation of the food service contract, the food service manager failed to possess a food safety certificate and plate waste studies to determine what is and isn’t eaten by residents are not being conducted.”
“The two main concerns we found in the Pharmacy unit were one, that there was no process in place to compare and verify prescription drug deliveries with shipping – delivery slips and invoices that would confirm the accuracy of quantities received and prices paid for deliveries. Two, Riverview nursing staff was disposing of unused drugs by flushing them down the toilet. Certain common prescription drugs can be hazardous to the environment and should be disposed of in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, Butkovitz stated.
Butkovitz ended, “if we are going to provide care to some of our most vulnerable, we must insure that this level of care guarantees them a safe and comforting environment and treats them with dignity.”