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Feb 3, 2009 5:02 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Ambulance officials tell Health Department of concerns about Hamptons Rehab Center

Feb 3, 2009 5:02 PM

The chiefs of the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance and the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance companies jointly wrote a letter to the New York State Department of Health in January, voicing concerns about the quality of care patients receive at the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in the village.

The letter, according to a state official, highlights recurring problems the ambulance crews, which respond to more than 200 calls to the facility each year, have experienced and witnessed among patients they have been called to treat and transport to local hospitals.

Neither the ambulance chiefs—Violetta Zamorski, chief of the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance, and Keith Phillips, chief of Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance—nor the Department of Health would release a copy of the 10-page letter. But Ms. Zamorski said that among the concerns the chiefs voiced is the volume of ambulance calls that come from the center and the fact that so many of those calls must be handled by the local volunteer ambulances.

Beyond the concerns about ambulance calls, the emergency medical technicians and crews of the volunteer ambulance companies told the Department of Health of worrisome conditions at the center that they had witnessed themselves.

Among the problems ambulance crews have observed, Ms. Zamorski said, were long delays in seeking medical assistance for ailing patients, dehydration and bed sores. EMTs say that patients have sometimes been in severe respiratory distress or suffering chest pains for hours before the facility calls emergency crews to take them to the hospital, she said.

On other occasions, ambulance crews have responded to reports of a patient in cardiac arrest and found that the nursing home’s staff had not used or prepared an automated external defibrillator to restart the patient’s heart—a simple and potentially life-saving measure.

Southampton Volunteer Ambulance crews, based in North Sea, respond to dozens of calls at the Hamptons Center each year even though it is outside the company’s jurisdiction. Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance, whose jurisdiction includes the nursing home, responded to more than 170 calls at the nursing home last year. In 2007, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available, the nursing home accounted for 22 percent of the village ambulance’s 563 calls, according to 2nd Assistant Chief Janet Sadowski.

The nursing home contracts with a private ambulance service to transport patients but does not have an ambulance on site and uses the 911 emergency system to call local volunteer ambulances when a private crew is unavailable.

Ms. Zamorski said the local ambulances never balk at responding and expect to have to answer occasional calls from the facility. But she said the sheer volume of calls is overwhelming the already struggling small volunteer corps and affecting service to the surrounding community.

“It has increased the village call volume so drastically,” Ms. Zamorski said. “In turn, that affects the entire community. They should have a paid service on hand there, 24-7.”

The ambulance chief said that concerns have been building among the volunteers who respond to the facility on a regular basis since the day it opened in 2006. She said that crews have had several internal meetings to discuss the conditions at the Hamptons Center, how to address them and whether the volunteer ambulances should lodge a formal complaint.

Ms. Zamorski said that the decision to file a formal complaint against the facility was made jointly by the two ambulance corps in hopes that it would be “an eye-opener for the community” about the care at what is now the only long-term nursing and rehabilitation center east of the Shinnecock Canal.

Mr. Phillips, chief of the village ambulance company, did not return numerous calls seeking comment.

Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing is a 280-bed facility on County Road 39 on the edge of Southampton Village. The center is owned and operated by North Sea Associates LLC.

Repeated attempts were made over several weeks to obtain comment from officials of the Hamptons Center, as well as its medical director, Dr. Charles Guida of Southampton. Numerous phone messages were never returned, and no comment was provided upon office visits seeking comment.

Staff writer Brendan O’Reilly contributed to this story.

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let's face it....this place should have been allowed to be developed as a hotel
By eastender09 (29), southampton on Feb 3, 09 4:17 PM
I would like to tell you that my father had a massive heart attack in November 2008. After a 24 day hospital stay he was released to the Hamptons Center. My father stayed at the center for 20 days, I found the center to be very clean and well kept, the food was more than acceptable and the staff was very happy to tend to all of my fathers needs. The entire staff and I do want to include everyone from house keeping to RN's,CNA's and Physical Therapists were wonderful, they were kind and very professional. ...more
By Dawn (2), Southampton on Feb 3, 09 6:14 PM
I Know first hand the place is a disgrace. They killed an elderly family member of mine, shortly after it opened. Our MD stated we could have brought charges against the faclility but did not. As that would not bring our family member back, However our MD filed a formal complaint against the Hampton Center and it was investigated. If another family member of mine would have to go in to a Care Center I would take the drive to Center Moriches and go to Cedar Lodge.
By roman (3), southampton on Feb 3, 09 8:00 PM
I am one of the local Southampton EMTs that is regulary disptached to this hell hole.

If anyone reading this has a family member or friend considering this nursing home for care, I urge you to please not let them go there.

If anyone reading this has a family member or friend ALREADY in residence there, I urge you to get them out of there. Tonight.

Additionally, we (the local ambulance crews) are being run ragged from having to answer so many calls there.

Imagine ...more
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Feb 3, 09 8:20 PM
If anyone should have any comments or concerns about the health care center please feel free to contact the NY State Department of Health.
By everheart2 (2), southampton on Feb 4, 09 9:09 AM
Wow!, there seems to be a some differing views of this facility! Has the State made a report yet?

BTW, Roman, last time I looked, Cedar Lodge wasn't in Center Moriches.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Feb 4, 09 9:43 AM
Reports to the NYSDOH have indeed been made. They are well aware of the situation there.
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Feb 4, 09 3:53 PM
NY State will most likely do nothing about it as they have done nothing before except turn their heads. I made many complaints when I had family members there from 2006-2007. NY State did go investigate and I did receive a 55 page report listing all the violations, and screw ups that they noted. I also received a call from the woman handling my case at NY State letting me know that she did indeed see everything there that I had complained about and proper action would be taken. That was in April ...more
By beentheredonethat (3), southampton on Feb 5, 09 1:00 AM
Correction: My OWN eyes
Ask The Hamptons Center how many patients died ther from complications from dehyrdation in 2006? I don't think they'll tell you the truth. The sad part is that you have some really great doctors in there now busting their butts to try and make it better, but their hands are tied when Administration puts the kabash on anything tehre being done properly.
By beentheredonethat (3), southampton on Feb 5, 09 1:07 AM
yes let's take away the vehicle and let's screams the loudest when you or a family member need and ambulance and there is no first responder, ler's replace them with horses, why not ? they worked in the past. as far as "pay" there isn't enough pay in this world to be waking up a at 3 in the morning because you stubbed your toe, and to be honest that vehicle is a leash not a pleasure, trust me I know, as far as paid responders when you people learn what a true emergency is then maybe paid responders ...more
By typical (63), southampton on Feb 5, 09 9:41 AM
keith phillips is AWESOME!!!!! people know him! he saves lives every day!!!!
By ringleader (1), pj on Feb 6, 09 2:25 AM
My uncle was at the facilty for about three weeks . I thought the care was excelent .The staff was very attentive to his needs and care .It was a very pleasureable experiance and we did not have to worry about his care and felt that he was in very good hands .The fillipino staff was very polite and caring .He is now in the westhampton facility which is like a bad second rate hotel . We hope to get him back to the southampton facility asap
By highway (2), southampton on Feb 6, 09 5:34 AM
Intheknow911, it would be interesting to know what has prompted your vitriol. I suggest that you explore finding a more productive way to spend your time than making cowardly anonymous attacks against a person who gives so much to the community.
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Feb 6, 09 10:36 AM
in the know obviously has issues, I have a feeling this person was once a member of an ambulanc corp and was thrown out by Mr Phillips as a bad member.! or maybe just has misguided anger issues
By typical (63), southampton on Feb 6, 09 10:03 PM
What is absolutely ridiculous is for anyone to make a deragatory comment about either ambulance corp! Unfortunately I just about hold a record for having to call 911 to have them come to my house for both of my parents. Every member of the Corps goes above and beyond the necessary duties required to do their job. They are VOLUNTEERS!!! They do this because someone has to and they care about what they do. They are on the job 24/7 and if if weren't for them I don't knwo what thsi town would do. They ...more
By beentheredonethat (3), Southampton on Feb 7, 09 10:03 AM
I agree, it's very obvious that "intheknow" has some major issues. I wonder, is he a volunteer in our community? Apparently not nor does he realize the numerous hours of on going training, schooling and man hours it takes to be a volunteer member of the Ambulance Corp. and even more so when your an officer or Chief. In addition these volunteers have put time with their own families aside in order to protect and help our community and others. There is no amount of money or the use of a "Frist ...more
By Proud of our volunteers (5), Southampton on Feb 7, 09 1:35 PM
Intheknow911 is a disgruntled former member who is known for mouthing off at ambulance volunteers regarding issues that he is grossly mis-informed of.

As someone who knows Keith Phillips personally and has run hundreds of calls with him, I can say with 100 percent conviction that is there is nobody else I would rather have at my side in case of an emergency.
I trust him with my life.
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Feb 7, 09 5:24 PM
I have one more comment to add to this mess. While I do not agree with all of the negative comments about the Hamptons Center I do know one thing. Keith Phillips was the officer that responded to my 911 call at 3:30 in the morning. I can only tell you this you had better pray that its him responding to your call if you or someone you love is faced with a life threatening situation as we were with my dad.End of story..... Thank You very much Keith
By Dawn (2), Southampton on Feb 7, 09 7:04 PM
God Bless all of our volunteers They all deserve to be driving Rolls Royces. We could never live without them. Any perk they reveive if you can call it that is well deserved. We could never afford to pay for this service.
By harbor man (47), sag harbor on Feb 7, 09 10:47 PM
Anyone who is making libeless or deragatory statements thats could interfere with an individual's community standing and, or, economic position (i.e. "Keith Phillips should focus on getting off probation on his actual JOB.") should post their real name and information. If those individuals stand behind their comments and are satisfied with their authenticity, why hide? The only explanation that one could formulate, is that these statements lack merit and are instead aimed at degrading the target's ...more
By East of West (1), southampton on Feb 8, 09 12:21 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Proud of our volunteers (5), Southampton on Feb 9, 09 1:50 PM
Something you all may not be aware of are the conditions that nurses face each day working at nursing homes. The ratio of residents to nurses is 40 to 1. Yes, 40 residents to 1 nurse. I don't understand how New York State Department of Health arrived at this number as being acceptable to adequately care for and administer medications to the residents. I can tell you first hand that this is an impossibility. One nurse cannot effectively tend to the needs of 40 ( in some nursing homes it's 50) residents ...more
By nurse7 (1), Southampton on Feb 9, 09 3:51 PM
Pat, I've been reading your comments and to be honest I'm suprised at you, we both are friends with Keith..yes I know who you are and if you read my comments again you will know I am very much in the know, and you know it, as we have been through much togther
By typical (63), southampton on Feb 9, 09 10:10 PM
I really want to know whats going at that nursing home in southampton NY. I have Uncle that is in that nursing home. I don't want him being abuse there. If he is abuse I want somthing don't about. I would like to have someone go into this case more on nursing home. When I use to lived there in southampton NY I hard all kinds rumers about this nursing home and on peopke being abuse. Then hard about not being abuse.

I was wondering if it could be few nurses that are abusing clints. Please ...more
By K.Y.NY'er (1), Richmond K.Y. on Feb 12, 09 3:05 AM

I am a professional paramedic and have had the opportunity to work with a number of Police Departments over for more years than I’d like to admit to. I’ve found working out here in the Hamptons your Police Department is one of the finest that I’ve had a chance to work with. Knowledgeable and extremely helpful in making a difficult job (EMS) less so. Recently I worked a job early in the morning that could have gone very badly. The officer who arrived when I did, assisted with the equipment, ...more
By Medic154 (2), Lindenhurst on Feb 13, 09 11:47 AM
im insulted that you actually compare Cedar lodge to the Hamptons Center .I applied to cedar Lodge and once i did the walk through orientation i was shocked at what i saw..patients was soaked in urine ,i saw garbage bags of soiled linen in the hall the smell was overwhelming and call bells went unanswered for more than 5 minutes at a time I am a nurse aide at the hamptons and i consider myself to be caring and compasiionate to the residents there i treat them like i would want to be treated if ever ...more
By ti2000 (1), shirley on Aug 19, 09 9:27 PM