SONOMA COUNTY: Home Loses Federal Certification, Medicaid Funds
A Sonoma County facility for developmentally disabled adults has lost its federal certification and $3 million in monthly Medicaid funding after state health inspectors discovered a series of alleged violations, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Sonoma Developmental Center in Glen Ellen, a state unit that provides round-the-clock care, has been issued at least 15 citations and $142,800 in fines by the state since January. According to investigators from the state Department of Health Services, the home failed to prevent the overdose death of one resident and the "mysterious poisoning" of another. Investigators also accused one worker of using a stun gun on a resident and several others of sleeping on the job. As a result of the overdose death, the home was issued a class AA citation, the "most serious level of citation." The center and the state Department of Developmental Services have appealed HCFA's decision to cut off Medicaid reimbursements, which account for nearly 30% of the facility's annual $130 million budget. Sonoma Developmental Center Director Timothy Meeker called some of his staff's behavior "criminal" and "indefensible." However, he added that he has fired three employees for sleeping while on duty and always places employees suspected of abuse or neglect on immediate administrative leave. The appeal is expected to pit the Department of Health Services against sister agency the Department of Developmental Services, in the first-of-its-kind evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge (Vogel, 7/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.