Police investigate nursing home resident's death

Posted at 11:57 AM, May 01, 2016

Pinellas Park Police is investigating a possible case of elderly abuse at a local rehabilitation and nursing care center.

Wilbert Henry Moten, 65, was a resident at Gracewood Nursing Home at 8600 U.S. 19 North in Pinellas Park.

About 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Pinellas Park police received a call by paramedics that an elderly man, later identified as Moten, was being transported to the hospital as a possible victim of abuse.

Initially it appeared Moten may have been left outside the nursing home in the sun and had suffered second-degree burns with blisters and was dehydrated.

Pinellas Park police later learned Moten had gone into cardiac failure and died.

Detectives are investigating the incident and what occurred at the nursing home. As part of the investigation, the detectives will be working to determine whether any abuse occurred.

"It's just a matter of who was checking on him and how long were the durations in between," said Sgt Mike Lynch.

The investigation, which will include an autopsy by the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office, is expected to take several days.

The Florida Department of Health's Agency For Health Care Administration, AHCA, has Gracewood on a "Nursing Home Watchlist" for recent "deficiencies" in 2014 and 2015. Two more "deficiency" complaints were made about Gracewood in February of 2016, according to online state records.

The most recent Agency For Health Care Administration inspection gave Gracewood 1 star out of a 5-star rating recently, meaning the facility ranked among the bottom 20 percent of facilities in Florida, including administration, quality of life, quality of care, and overall inspection ranking.

AHCA issued the following statement:

"The Agency is aware of the incident that occurred at Gracewood Rehab and Nursing Care and we're reviewing the incident to determine appropriate actions within our Agency's purview. The Agency takes very seriously our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of all patients and to hold those health care facilities who fail to do so accountable to the patients they serve.  Each facility will continue to be held to these high standards."