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Four homes with problems



The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Ohio Department of Health threatened to revoke funding to these four homes for medically fragile children, after inspectors found evidence of abuse, neglect and other serious problems over the past three years. The homes' owners promised to fix the problems, and the homes stayed open. The allegations and responses:

• Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities, Mantua

Residents under 22 years of age: 104

Workers left a teenage girl alone with her father last year despite allegations that he was sexually abusing her.

Dennis Allen, the home's director, says child welfare officials found no evidence of abuse, so the home let the father visit privately. He says the state still believes the home should supervise the father, which it is doing.

• Heinzerling Memorial Foundation, Columbus

Residents under 22 years of age: 61

Inspectors found that the home didn't thoroughly investigate how 12 residents got bruised or cut. Included were two young girls, ages 4 and 9, who suffered from vaginal bleeding in March and December 2002. John Albert Taylor, Heinzerling's CEO, disputes that the girls were at risk. "I'm not going to try to guess what happened because if you read the report nobody knew. I think we have solved the problem by resolving the way we investigate any kind of trauma that happens to any male or female here."

• Rose Mary Center, Euclid

Residents under 22 years of age: 32

A teenage girl suffered chemical burns to the face and genitals last December after getting into a closet containing cleaning solvents. A worker put the resident in a playroom, wedged its door shut with a sock, and witnesses said he went to sleep at a desk.

The home fired the worker, put automatic locks on storage closets and warned others not to sleep on duty. "That kind of thing cannot happen again. We fixed the problem," says Patricia Colombo, Rose Mary's president.

• Sunshine Children's Home, Maumee

Residents under 22 years of age: 19

Twenty-four-year-old Prabir Nandy, who had lived at the home since he was 8, drowned March 3, 2002, in the home's pool. Inspectors said a worker who was supposed to stay within arm's length of Nandy at all times didn't. Inspectors also said the home didn't do a good job investigating his death.

Nandy's family is suing the home for negligence, and Sunshine Home Director John L. Martin declines comment. But he contested the Health Department's findings in an April 2002 letter to the state, saying the victim was supervised. "A terrible event occurred, creating pain and grief for the family and for us here at Sunshine," Martin wrote. "However accidents happen, sometimes with serious consequences, but not all accidents need to result in blame."



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Ohio hasn't increased its payments to doctors seeing Medicaid patients in three years, but nursing homes get automatic increases every year. It's state law. Nursing home costs increased 31 percent in five years to $2.2 billion, making it the health care program's single biggest expense in 2001.