Hearing set on state move to close Sweet Brook nursing home

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WILLIAMSTOWN — The first hearing related to the Department of Public Health's move to revoke the license of a Williamstown nursing home will take place at the end of the month.

Representatives of Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, which appealed the agency's move, is scheduled to appear before the Division of Administrative Law Appeals in Malden on July 31, according to a notice on the division's website.

"The prehearing conference happen[s] before the matter goes to a full hearing," said Marybeth McCabe, a spokeswoman for the DPH.

The state moved in April to revoke Sweet Brook's license to operate, noting that the facility is unfit for business. Sweet Brook appealed their decision in May.

"If there was a final decision or settlement agreement under which the facility would close, the decision or agreement would include terms about the timing of the closure and revocation of the license," McCabe has said in the past.

Since summer 2017, Sweet Brook has been cited by the DPH and by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, for a list of violations, including the alleged neglect and abuse of residents. In February, the CMS designated Sweet Brook a "Special Focus Facility," making it among fewer than 90 nursing homes across the country with long-standing and recurring issues in quality of care.

The federal agency also placed the facility in a state known as "immediate jeopardy," freezing the ability to admit new patients, twice in the past two years: once Aug. 30, 2017, and again March 8, 2019.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.

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