Mountain Echo Reports CCLD Misconduct
The Mountain Echo, a regional newspaper based in Shasta County’s Fall River Mills, CA released a story 17 January 2012 entitled "Why did Agency Hide Its Misconduct? Health Care Licensing Swept Riverview Problem Under the Rug.” http://www.mountainecho.com. You are encouraged to read it in its entirety, reproduced at the bottom of this post.
In summary, the article details the experience of Kim Young, a Licensing Program Analyst (LPA) for Community Care Licensing, as she attempted to close down an unlicensed RCFE - Riverside Residential Care, owned by Barbara Hockman. According to the article, the LPA issued a $20,000 Civil Penalty to Hockman for Operating an Unlicensed Facility, but the account states that the CCLD's regional manager, Donna Teutschel did not follow through by signing the civil penalty. The regional manager's failure to sign the civil penalty essentially voided it. According to the Mountain Echo's narrative, the alleged unlicensed facility remained in business for nearly three years, despite many local agencies knowing there were serious problems with this 'care facility.' Local agencies (Adult Protective Services [APS] and law enforcement agencies) regularly conducted welfare checks on the facility, the article reveals.
The most egregious example of problems accounting for the Adult Protective Services' and Shasta County District Attorney's interest in the facility was the 'suspicious death at Riverview." ". . .an elderly woman residence [sic] was found wedged between a wall and a mattress." When LPA Kim Young received notified of the death, she attempted to get Department of Justice involved in the investigation. According to the Mountain Echo, she was advised in an email from her regional manager Teutschel ". . .not to call the Department of Justice (DOJ)."
The article, in total, raises serious questions about the state's ability to regulate and enforce the laws for the benefit of the residents and families of residents living in California's Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). CARR believes this article is a must-read for families having residents living in RCFEs. But really all Californians should be concerned if the state agency charged with licensing and regulating the operation of ~8,000 assisted living facilities in the state cannot meaningfully act for the health and safety of elder residents living in these facilities. There are regulations which, if they had been enforced, could have prevented the reported death.
CARR calls on California's Attorney General's office to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the resident at Riverview. We also call on the state legislature to launch an investigation into Community Care Licensing, from top to bottom, to seek the truth for the many irregularities detailed in the article, not least of which include how an alleged unlicensed facility could stay in business for three years, under the nose of CCL, yet escaping closure, and why the $20,000 civil penalty was never assessed.
The mission of CCLD is to ". . . promote the health, safety and qualify of life of each person in community care through the administration of an effective collaborative regulatory enforcement system." If the facts in the Mountain Echo's story are correct, it sounds like CCLD has a lot of explaining to do to square its actions and failures to act with its mission statement.
The story cannot be seen directly at The Mountain Echo's website because access is by paid subscription only, however the article is reproduced via these PDFs: