Saturday, June 03, 2017

Troubled Operations, Chaos Force Over A Dozen Elderly Residents In Assisted Living Facility To Abruptly Pack Their Bags & Move, Leaving Flustered Families Scrambling To Find New Accommodations For Loved Ones

In Sahuarita, Arizona, Green Valley News reports:
  • Thirteen residents of two Sahuarita assisted-living homes found themselves abruptly moved to new facilities Thursday and Friday [May 19 & 20], but exactly why remains unclear.

    Several residents and their families said they were told they had to move because their caregivers had walked off the job after going unpaid for weeks.

    Jerone Davis, owner of Rancho Verde Duval and Rancho Verde Canalito homes, denied that he was behind on paying employees, but said his seven homes between Sahuarita and Tucson had 17 visits from several agencies over the past two months after complaints were filed.

    The scene at one of the homes in the Valle Verde del Norte neighborhood was near chaos Thursday as flustered relatives rushed to pack up belongings. Some were in tears as they wheeled their loved ones out of the home. A couple said they were angry and confused about the situation and too upset to speak with a reporter.

    In an interview at Rancho Verde Duval on Friday, Davis said that for unknown reasons his operations manager called all of his certified caregivers Wednesday night and told them not to report to work.

    The state Department of Health Services confirmed they were overseeing the moves but said they were not the result of “action taken by DHS,” said Holly Ward, communications director.

    Connie Weber, deputy press secretary for the Arizona Department of Economic Security, said that “because of state statutes regarding client confidentiality, the DES Division of Aging and Adult Services Adult Protective Services program can neither confirm nor deny any involvement in any case.”

    Sahuarita Police Lt. Matt McGlone said late Friday that they are investigating “a complaint of possible fraud against the owner and management of that care home and we are aware of a current investigation by the AG’s Office outside the Town of Sahuarita.”

    While police were at Rancho Verde Duval on Friday to take a report, Davis arrived and spoke with the officers and an APS representative.

    “I want to thank the families for letting me take care of their loved ones and to say I’m sorry this happened,” Davis, 53, told a reporter. “I hope they give me the opportunity to explain my side of what transpired.”

    Over the past three years, Davis said he purchased seven assisted-living facilities in Tucson and Sahuarita under the umbrella of Rancho Verde Care Communities. Over the past two months, he said numerous complaints were made to the state Attorney General’s Office, APS and DHS resulting in 17 visits from those agencies.

    “A lot of the families started to get concerned and they started to pull their families out,” Davis said, prompting the closure of three Tucson homes.
    ***
    Last man out

    On Friday morning, Joe Kovacs, 80, was the last resident at Rancho Verde Duval. His friends, Bobbie Fankhauser and Nathan Hedman, were trying to find a company capable of transporting a wheelchair to take him to his new home on Tucson’s east side.

    It was Kovacs’ third move in six weeks. He had just moved into Rancho Verde Los Reales when Davis shut it down and moved him to Rancho Verde Duval.

    When Fankhauser was told Kovacs was being transferred to a sister facility in Green Valley three weeks ago, she wasn’t happy, but understood. [...] Not only was she panicked about finding Kovacs a new place to live, she was also angry. She paid Davis six months in advance and she had to come up with $2,700 for the new facility.

    I feel ripped off, obviously, and like a sucker,” Fankhauser said Friday.

    She said it wasn’t Davis or any of his caregivers who called her. The owner of another facility who was taking in patients left a voicemail for her in the morning that she didn’t receive until after 5 p.m.

    Jeanie Anstey, 91, lived at Rancho Verde Duval for a year.

    “It was very good at first and then it went downhill,” she said.
    ***
    When they were told they were going to have to move, Anstey said everyone was upset because they’d become like family. “It was terrible,” she said. “It made me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe the person who owns these homes let this happen.”

    Anstey found a comfortable place nearby and considers herself lucky. She’s also fortunate that she paid Davis on a month-to-month basis, she said. “Some people had paid a year in advance,” Anstey said.

    Davis said he always pushed for quality care at his homes and will work to straighten out the situation.

    “My objective is to meet with all of the family members in the next week to discuss meeting my financial obligations,” Davis said.

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