Saturday, June 20, 2009

Letter from Regulatory Agency, DHSR, re: WNC Homes managing of disabled people w/ mental health concerns personal funds, etc.


TO: Marsha Hammond, PhD

FROM: Doug Barrick, Policy Coordinator <> (DHSR: Department of Health Services Regulation, within NC DHHS)

DATE: June 10, 2009

RE: Complaints Against WNC Family Care Homes

In response to your issues with WNC Family Care Homes, let me first clarify that I am not a legislative liaison as Lou Morton indicated. I do, however, concur with you that a change in law is not at issue based on the complaints you have reported.

There are rules, as you have pointed out, that apply to resident funds, mail and cooperation with case mangers. Residents are to have available their monthly personal needs allowance according to Rule 10A NCAC 13G .1104 and G.S. 131D-21(13). Mail is confidential and not to be opened except as authorized by the resident according to Rule 10A NCAC 13G .0906(b) and G.S. 131D-21(10). In addition, Rule 10A NCAC 13G .0906(f) addresses visitation in the home and states that visitation is to be at “reasonable” hours with at least 10 hours per day allowed for visitation and “arranged through the mutual prior understanding of the residents and administrator.” The information you provided does indicate possible violations of rules related to personal funds and mail. The rule on visitation in the home also needs consideration, depending on the nature of the visit, given that the administrator does have a role in determining visitation schedule and restrictions.

Rule 13G .0908 addressing cooperation with case managers requires further clarification regarding the “case manager” designation. “Case manager”, for the purposes of this rule, is a designation applied to those monitoring and managing areas of care as defined by an agency such as the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) which requires case management services for residents receiving enhanced personal care services. It does not apply to those providing therapeutic services or treatment exclusively.

Complaints are normally investigated by the county departments of social services, but the State can be involved in investigations if there are problems or there is a request for State involvement. County staff are not under our direct authority as the State regulatory agency, but we do have oversight authority as specified in G.S. 131D-2(b)(1a)(b,c). An investigation related to your allegations and concerns is currently underway. You will be informed of the results of the investigation.



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