NewsLocal News


Tonawanda senior living facility sues N.Y. Department of Health after it was ordered to shut down

Operating certificate is suspended for 60 days
Posted at 5:37 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 17:37:28-04

The State Department of Health has issued an emergency order to suspend Oakwood Senior Living's operating certificate for 60 days, following 116 health and safety violations from 2015 to 2018.

The DOH ordered the 148-bed facility to transfer residents to other care facilities or their families no later than today.

Donald Bartolotti has lived at Oakwood for three years, and said the order to shutdown took residents by complete surprise.

"Especially for the residents here who had no knowledge of this coming until just a couple of days ago when it was announced to us," he said. "Boom! It's like getting hit with an iron frying pan, you know?"

The Commissioner's emergency order cited improper medication management, failing to make sure medications were available to residents and failing to maintain residents' medication records.

In April, according to the state, 98 residents didn't receive 1,457 doses of prescribed medication.

But Oakwood isn't going down without a fight.

According to state Supreme Court documents, the facility's operator, Kenwell Gardens, is suing the Department of Health for its "Clear overreach" and "arbitrary and capricious decision."

Bartolotti said the medical staff has a high turnover rate.

"They come in, they train some of the people that come in to work in the med room, and then a few weeks later, a month later, they leave," he said.

In 2017, A former resident sued Oakwood for failing to keep the facility free from bed bugs, and claimed he was bitten and had to throw away clothes and bedding.


Bartolotti said while the facility may have problems, they can be solved.

"Simply hire some more qualified people, do better training," he said.

7 Eyewitness News reached out to Oakwood Senior Living, but the facility is declining comment at this time.