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17 workers at HighPointe nursing home accused of felony patient abuse

Seventeen workers at the HighPointe nursing facility are accused by the State Attorney General’s Office of abusing patients at the facility on Michigan Avenue, a law enforcement source told The Buffalo News.

Felony criminal complaints filed in Buffalo City Court allege mistreatment of residents at the facility, but the files will not be made public until the accused are arraigned Friday afternoon, court representatives said.

More details are expected to be released later today.

The Buffalo nursing home is operated by Kaleida Health.

An official at HighPointe declined to comment on the law enforcement action and officials at Kaleida Health did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

HighPointe on Michigan Health Care Facility is a 300-bed facility that opened in December 2011 on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The $64 million facility replaced the 242-bed Deaconess Center on Humboldt Parkway and the 75-bed skilled-nursing unit in Millard Fillmore Hospital, Gates Circle.

HighPointe was the first nursing home built in Buffalo in decades.

The facility posted a 97 percent occupancy rate last month.

Some 270 beds are devoted for residential health care with the rest for pediatric and ventilator patients, according to state Health Department records.

The state received 119 complaints and incident reports through February 2014. The facility’s 44.8 complaints per 100 occupied beds exceeded the state average of 34.1, according to state Health Department data.

The state Health Department conducted 59 on-site inspections at HighPointe. The facility’s 6.4 deficiency citations per 100 occupied beds exceeded the statewide average of 2.2, according to the Health Department data.

Eleven of the 17 citations dealt with quality of care.

Inspectors did not observe actual harm during any visits since 2013 but found many of the problems had the potential for more than minimal harm. Slightly more than half of the problems noted by inspectors were deemed isolated, with the rest part of a pattern. But none of the problems were widespread, according to the state data.