KIMBALL — A Kimball woman’s death at a nursing home and assisted living facility in Kimball is under investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub confirmed to the Star-Herald that he has been appointed special prosecutor in a review of the death of Marllene Goodon, 79, of Kimball. Goodon died May 30.
In a statement to the Star-Herald, Shannon Monnheiser, administrator of the Kimball County Manor, said Goodon had been transported to Kimball hospital and later to a higher level care hospital in Colorado where she died.
A Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health disciplinary action report states that the Kimball County Manor has been put on a one-year probation. The report states: “Facility failed to ensure resident safety by failing to use a safety belt during a whirlpool bath resulting in a fall with injury that resulted in death.” The Star-Herald has reached out to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to see what other documents may be available, but had not yet received a response as of press time Friday.
Monnheiser said the Kimball County Manor is formally disputing the accuracy of the Nebraska DHHS’ findings and has started the appeal process. Because of the appeal and due to federal regulations protecting a resident’s health information, Monnheiser declined to provide additional details. However, Monnheiser says “no inference should be drawn” from an investigation into the death and the appointment of a special prosecutor as she says manor officials were told “all deaths are investigated.”
Schaub was appointed to oversee an investigation into Goodon’s death after Kimball County Attorney Dave Wilson filed on June 4 asking for a special prosecutor to be appointed.
Kimball County has owned the facility since 1971, according to information on the Kimball County Manor’s website. In court filings, it was indicated that events that occurred between May 24 and May 30 concerning Marllene Goodon and the Kimball County Manor would be investigated and as county attorney, Wilson had a conflict.
Schaub told the Star-Herald Goodon’s death has been ruled to be accidental. However, he said, the Nebraska State Patrol is investigating and reviewing the woman’s deaths and actions of the manor or employees in regards to policies, procedures or other actions involving the care of patients. A report has been submitted from the Adult Protective Services division of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, he said, which will be ruled to determine if there will be any charges, such as neglect, in the case.
Schaub said he expected to complete a review of reports in the investigation within the next week.
Goodon’s estate is being represented by attorneys with the Chaloupka Holyoke Snyder Chaloupka & Longoria PC LLO. When asked if the Goodon family, represented in estate matters by Goodon’s son, Todd Goodon, as personal representative, intended to pursue legal action against Kimball County Manor if wrongdoing were to be found, Scottsbluff attorney Maren Chaloupka told the Star-Herald attorneys are reviewing the evidence in the case to make a decision on how to respond. At this time, she said, the firm had not received all of the records in the case.
Monnheiser said the Kimball County Manor extended its deepest sympathy to the family of Goodon.
“The safety and well-being of our residents is our number one priority.
“... Kimball County Manor has long focused on high-quality care,” she said. “We earned four out of five stars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ for quality measures indicating how well we care for our residents’ physical and clinical needs. We’ve also had numerous team members receive state and national scholarships to advance their education to continuously improve the quality of care.”