Following its investigation, the Vermont Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit (MFRAU) today announced a settlement with Our House Residential Care Homes, the AG office said Wednesday, August 31.
It is alleged that Our House, operator of four residential care homes in Rutland, Vermont, failed to properly train staff and adequately document and monitor the delivery of resident care services, resulting in abuse and neglect of residents. The settlement requires Our House to implement new training and compliance practices, including designating an internal compliance monitor that will evaluate Our House’s performance.
Additionally, if Our House fails to meet certain standards at any point in the next three years, it will be required to pay $40,000 in damages and penalties.
“The settlement with Our House requires remedies designed to bring about meaningful and long-lasting change to the quality of its residents’ care,” said Attorney General Susanne Young. “I want to thank the Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit for their work on this difficult and important matter, and the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living’s Division of Licensing and Protection for providing valuable assistance with the investigation.”
MFRAU’s investigation of Our House, which began in December 2020, alleges that the residential care homes:
- Failed to properly supervise the administration of medication on repeated occasions;
- Failed to protect residents from abuse;
- Failed to properly supervise and train staff, resulting in neglect, and
- Failed to ensure that allegations of abuse were timely and properly reported.
Under the terms of the settlement, Our House must designate an internal compliance monitor to (1) ensure that all individuals who deliver care services are properly trained; (2) improve the monitoring of resident needs and the timely delivery of services to meet those needs, and (3) implement a plan for improving regulatory and statutory compliance. The compliance monitor will also conduct a series of performance evaluations and issue reports to MFRAU, assessing the quality of resident care at Our House facilities. The compliance monitor will serve for a minimum term of two years.
Our House has also agreed to develop and implement a mandatory staff training and orientation program to ensure that every individual delivering care of any kind is familiar with the residents and their care plans. This training requirement is separate from and in addition to existing training requirements for employees of residential care homes imposed under state and federal regulations.
Finally, Our House will be liable for $40,000 in damages and penalties under Vermont law. These damages will be suspended unless Our House is issued a statement of deficiency by the Division of Licensing and Protection at any time in the next three years.
MFRAU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $1,057,724 for Federal fiscal year FY 2022. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $352,575 for FY 2022, is funded by the State of Vermont.