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More Incidents of Abuse and Neglect

Published on January 7th, 2010

This post will be a round up of stories from around the country on nursing home exployees abusing, neglecting, or exploiting the residents.  We need to expect more from the nursing homes on how they train, supervise, and manage their workers.

One article from an ABC affiliate in Texas was about Shonda Rodriguez, a woman who pleaded no contest to abusing an elderly patient.  Shonda Rodriguez worked as an licensed vocational nurse at Castle Pines Nursing Home in Lufkin, slapped the hand of the patient.  The patient was found with bruising to the backs of both hands and a tear to the skin of her upper arm. As part of her plea, Rodriguez was sentenced to only two years probation, ordered to pay minimal restitution and a $500 fine, and also ordered not to work with small children or elderly as an LVN.  She gets to keep he rlicense and work in the health care field though!

The next article was from the Star-Tribune .  A 19-year-old Albert Lea nursing home aide named Ashton Larson pleaded not guilty to charges that she was one of two employees who sexually humiliated and abused numerous vulnerable residents at a local facility.  According to the charges, Larson admitted to police that she inserted her finger into the rectum of a resident at the Good Samaritan Society home. She said she was trying to trigger a bowel movement but admitted that this was not part of her training.  She admitted getting into bed with a resident and making a humping motion. She also admitted to patting the buttocks of one resident and trying to get another angry and then laughing at her.

Also charged in the case is Brianna Broitzman. The charges against her say that she admitted to police that she poked one resident in the breast. Other teens who were implicated accused Broitzman of numerous other actions, including spitting in a resident’s mouth and jabbing the breasts of several residents.

The next article was from Consumer Affairs discussing the six employees who were charged with exploiting vulnerable adults.  Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who announced the arrests, said the six were either employees of the Belhaven Senior Care facility or owned the company.   "Within the indictments, there are 21 separate incidents of exploitation involving eight residents of Belhaven Senior Care," said Hood, "A total of $25, 785 was taken from the victims."

Those arrested are:

• Ponchie McCollough, a social worker with the facility, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and 19 counts of Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult. McCollough remains in jail and bond has not been set, but arraignment is set for January 8, 2010.

• Brad Burt, an administrator with the facility, was indicted on one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult and 14 counts of accessory after the fact in felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He is currently out on $75,000 bond.

• Justin Johnson, Director of Operations for Trend Consultants (owner of Belhaven Senior Care), was indicted on 14 counts of accessory after the fact in felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He is currently out on $25,000 bond.

• Tina Brewer, AR Billing Specialist for Trend Consultants, was indicted on 14 counts of accessory after the fact in felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She is currently out on $25,000 bond.

• Jessica McKinney, a friend of McCollough, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and two counts felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Bond has been set at $5,000.

• Madeline Floyd, a friend of McCollough, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Floyd’s bond was set at $5,000, but she remains in jail.

In each case, McCollough is alleged to have misappropriated resident’s funds under the guise of spending down accumulated funds so that residents would not lose Medicaid benefits. The funds, however, were not used for the residents needs, but were allegedly retained by McCollough and other defendants. Once the matter was discovered by officials of Trend Consultants, some of the defendants are accused of trying to cover up the alleged wrongdoing in an effort to avoid returning the funds to the residents.

On December 3, 2009, owners of Trend Consultants agreed to return $25,785.00 to the eight residents and paid a penalty to the State in the amount of $77,355.00. The agreement absolved the corporation.

CBS Springfield had a story about a whistleblower who sued a nursing home for wrongful termination.  Joan Johnson was fired from her job at a nursing home because she complained about improper treatment of patients.  Joan Johnson is seeking $56,000 in damages from the companies that manage and staff Renaissance Manor at Cabot.  Johnson alleged she and another employee had raised concerns that patients were being left too long in soiled beds and were not being cared for properly while walking. They said that lead to several patients falling.   Johnson claimed she was fired in June because she complained to superiors that a patient with a serious bacterial infection was allowed to use another patient’s walker in violation of infection control standards.

Nursing home officials declined to comment.
 

Joe Pioletti
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