Sunday, May 31, 2009

Department of Health Service Regulation will not enforce the Family Care Homes law & Residents w/ Mental Health challenges go wanting

Marsha V. Hammond, PhDmy cell phone number: best times to reach me: afternoons: 404 964 5338
my e mail address:

May 31, 2009

RE: why isn't Family Care Homes law enforced?

Dear Lou Morton of DHSR (within NC DHHS), regulatory agency over Family Care Homes in NC:

This is what I want to speak to Doug Barrick, the legislative liason (as I understand it) for DHSR about. Thank you for giving me his name. As per the e mails below this one, he is not responding to my requests for information about why the NC Family Care Homes law is not enforced or what needs to happen to make it enforceable.

Basically, here is the matter: I do not understand why the Family Care Homes law is so minimally enforced. The 'enforcer', essentially, is the local DSS. Also, local, is a DHSR office. It is not clear to me what the purpose of that office is given the difficulties of these residents to obtain any information and as related to my one plus inch file now of letters back from DSS Buncombe and DHSR in Raleigh stating that 'there's no evidence for your complaint.'

Buncombe DSS is dead busy, I realize. And Cheryl Simcox and her boss and other people associated with going out to the Family Care Home in question (WNC Homes, Asheville, NC) try to do their jobs, I realize. If I saw clients at other locations, I believe there would be some of the same problems but maybe not.

Nothing has improved or changed as associated w/ the meeting I had w/ DSS Buncombe, WNC administration, myself, the two local DHSR women, two months ago.

Are we going to have to ask the already overburdened Pisgal Legal Aide Services to sue WNC Homes for these back monies or can't DHSR and DSS Buncombe do what they have been determined to do? Or will Disability Rights NC pick up the case perhaps?

All the legal aide services including Disability Rights NC seem to understand that there are 'problems' w/ the Family Care Homes which house thousands of NC citizens who have mental & physical health problems and no where to go.

Ms. Morton: you indicatethat you believe there is a 'problem with the law.' I don't see this problem w/ the law; what I see is DSS Buncombe and DHSR NOT ENFORCING the law.

However, specific to the complaints, these are the specific problems and NOTHING has been solved which is apparently what Barbara Ryan believes as per an e mail she sent to me several weeks ago after the meeting at DSS Buncombe between myself, WNC administration, Simcox, and the local DHSR representatives :

1. Residents' mail is not given to them: residents' mail is taken and/ or never given to them (along these lines I have sent a registered letter on May 28, 2009 to ---, House # 12, 231 Country Time Lane, Leicester, NC----one of the houses for WNC Homes----it can only be delivered to him personally with he presenting his ID; if he does not receive this mail or it is returned to me because they say 'he's not home' when he IS at home, I will follow that matter up ). I paid $10 to have this letter sent to BRC just to see if he could receive mail. Obviously, I cannot do this for all mailings to residents. The letter I sent to him is a carbon copy of a letter we wrote and sent to Congressman Heath Shuler regarding the taking of federal monies e.g., the SSDI monies.

The mail of resident --- was taken by Jeff Clifton, administrator of WNC Homes, and passed around the DSS Buncombe county meeting room as per the meeting a couple of months ago and it had to do w/ my carbon copy to Pisgah legal aide Services as associated with his desire to regain his competency. Mr. Clifton passed it around with comments like: 'can you believe that this psychologist is trying to get this done?' and at that point I LEFT THE ROOM.

Here is the law from the Family Care Homes law:subchapter 13G – licensing of family care homes:

10A NCAC 13G .0906 OTHER resident SERVICES

(b) Mail.

(1) Residents shall receive their mail promptly and it must be unopened unless there is a written, witnessed request authorizing management staff to open and read mail to the resident. This request must be recorded on Form DSS-1865, the Resident Register or the equivalent....

If WNC Homes has had its residents to sign this Form DSS 1865 or its equivalent, the residents with whom I have spoken and who are mentioned here, are not aware of it. At the very least, it seems that DSS Buncombe could verify to the resident(s) that they have signed this form and allow them an opportunity to 'unsign' it.


2. Distribution of money problems: residents cannot get a response on questions associated with their Personal Needs Allowance (PNA). specifically) When they write letters, they hear nothing back from Jeff Clifton or anyone else in the administration of WNC Homes. Why can't DHSR or Buncombe DSS f/u on this? When DSS Buncombe goes out to WNC Homes it appears they have as an agenda to speak to the SIC or Supervisor in Charge and the resident. I do not know what questions they are asking but they are not researching the matter such that any 'charges' can be made.

It is not my intention to bury WNC Homes; it is my intention to have the law enforced so that the civil rights of the residents are protected and their mental health can improve rather than constantly winding back around to violations of their civil rights.

I am told, in writing, by one of the Community Support Services workers for Direct Care LLC, that the residents---who have stated this to the CSS worker----- are AFRAID to say something to the DSS investigator because they are afraid of retaliation.

Problem A:

As re: that matter, --- Hse # 12, and I have written ANOTHER request for information on his back PNA monies. To make the matter even more complicated, Evergreen, who ran his home prior to that, did not give him his PNA. As DHSR and Buncombe DSS knows (they should) Evergreen left in a whirlwind of problems including the non payment of PNA's. Where is this resident's back PNA? And why can't DSS Buncombe follow this thru?

Problem B:

Another disability check matter: client CJW, unknown numbered house on Thurland Avenue (DHSR went out to see about this a couple of months ago; the resident has moved into a homeless shelter rather than have his money kept from him). This resident gave a two week notice in writing to WNC Homes/ Jeff Clifton. I wrote a letter w/ this man this past week to Simcox, indicating that Social Security had stated that his SSDI check had been scooped up by WNC Homes---his April, 2009 check, and it had not been returned to his SSA account. Why can't DHSR or Buncombe DSS follow this through?

Here is the Family Care Homes law: re: two week notice he gave to WNC Homes:

h) If a discharge is initiated by the resident or responsible person, the administrator may require up to a 14-day written notice from the resident or responsible person which means the resident or responsible person may be charged for the days of the required notice if notice is not given or if notice is given and the resident leaves before the end of the required notice period..

more details from the Family Care Homes law: 10A NCAC 13G .1103


(e) All or any portion of a resident's personal funds shall be available to the resident or his legal representative or payee upon request during regular office hours, except as provided in Rule .1105 of this Subchapter.

(f) The resident's personal needs allowance shall be credited to the resident's account within 24 hours of the check being deposited following endorsement.
Here is recent responses between a helpful woman, Lou Morton, DHSR Raleigh, who some time speaking to me about a month ago. However, I have not been able to get in touch w/ this gentleman, Doug Barrick whom is described by Lou Morton as the legislative liason.

Ms. Morton indicates that she believes there is a 'problem with the law.' I don't see this problem w/ the law; what I see is DSS Buncombe and DHSR NOT ENFORCING the law.

----Original Message----From: hammondmv@netzero.comDate: May 30, 2009 3:12 To: "Lou Morton"Cc: Subj: what is Doug Barrick's ph number again?Hi Lou: I still have not heard from him. what's his number again?marsha hammond, phd
At 01:30 PM 5/31/2009 -0400, you wrote:
Doug,Dr. Hammond would like for you to get in touch with her. Please let me know when you speak with her.


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