- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - Oregon officials have shut down four adult foster care homes in Jackson County, including one that accepted extra Medicaid funds but didn’t hire the necessary caregivers.

“It is very uncommon for adult foster homes to be immediately shut down,” Ashley Carson Cottingham, director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, told The Mail Tribune (https://bit.ly/1TK7IaU ). There have only been 12 homes shut down statewide this year, including the four in Jackson County, she said.

The agency normally works with providers to help them achieve compliance, Carson-Cottingham said. But it shuts down homes that pose a risk to clients, don’t operate according to regulations or show evidence of abuse, neglect or exploitation of residents, according to license-suspension notices sent to the Jackson County facilities.

The Mail Tribune was unable to reach the Jackson County patients or caregivers for comment. Phone calls to the homes either went unanswered after numerous rings or phone numbers were disconnected. No patients or caregivers were on site during in-person visits.

One Medford adult foster care home had accepted $4,108 per month in extra Medicaid money to hire more caregivers. Two caregivers were required at all times because of the high needs of the home’s four residents, including a quadriplegic person.

The residents there needed help with tasks like getting in and out of bed, repositioning, showering and sponge baths, incontinence and toilet needs, feeding and dressing.

An inspector found only one caregiver there, however, when making an unannounced visit in April.

The report also said there were not enough caregivers to evacuate residents in the case of a fire, and the home fabricated information about a March fire drill.

Another home in nearby Central Point had been the subject of multiple Adult Protective Services investigations during the past three years, according to the Department of Human Services.

An inspection report said there was substantiated neglect, emotional and verbal abuse and a failure to keep a safe medication system at the house. A new inspection also documented more than two dozen problems, including that unqualified caregivers worked in the home. Ants were also found in the house.

A Medford home licensed to the same person also had dozens of violations, according to an inspection report, including an unsafe medication administration system, improperly stored medical sharps and a cracked ceiling fixture that was in danger of falling. The report also said the licensee was accepting a private-pay contract from a resident who was already receiving Medicaid payments.

Inspection reports from the fourth home that was shut down describe dirty walls and carpet, a dirty bathroom, a sticky floor, a urine odor, a broken window, an overflowing container of soiled incontinence garments and an inoperable fire alarm with the battery removed.

Carson-Cottingham said local Department of Human Services staff find new locations for residents when a house is shut down. “It is disruptive and traumatic, and we only use this option if it is a last resort and we believe that there is an immediate threat to health and safety,” she said.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, https://www.mailtribune.com/

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