Ruling may cost Sonoma Developmental Center $2.5M a month

A litany of management and health care failures at Sonoma Developmental Center is outlined in a 207-page report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) July 25, that could eliminate federal funding of $2.5 million a month for 240 residents of the Eldridge facility near Glen Ellen.

The list of negative findings includes the charges that SDC staff “failed to maintain an effective pest control system, failed to ensure maintenance was conducted and timely repairs done in the environment, failed to keep food safe during dining service and storage, failed to routinely monitor the dishwashing machine in the main kitchen to assure it was functioning properly.”

SDC management, states the report, “failed to ensure implementation of the following policies and procedures; food handling, receiving, storage, and equipment; Human Rights committee, whole person reviews, individual planning coordinator role and responsibilities, informed consent, psychotropic medications, physical, medical supports and restraints; abuse/mistreatment/neglect prevention and reporting; bowel care management, notification to the physician/nurse, gastrostomy tubes, and infection control.”

Additionally, states the report, “The facility failed to maintain systems that would prohibit abuse, neglect and mistreatment of clients residing in the facility. The Governing Body failed to ensure all alleged violations were reported immediately, investigated thoroughly and corrective actions were taken. The facility failed to ensure the Human Rights Committee reviewed and monitored programs that involved risks to client protections, including the informed consent process, unnecessary drugs and active treatment, locked doors, opportunities for choice and self-management i.e., manage monies, engage in the community and appropriate dressing and grooming.”

Residents covered by the deficiency assessment are housed in seven Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) and are largely characterized as having often-severe behavioral issues related to their developmental disabilities. Last December, the facility’s four other ICF units lost federal funding after a survey found similar compliance issues. Federal dollars fund part of SDC program costs through the state’s Medi-Cal program, and CDPH has responsibility for ensuring that care and treatment meets federal standards.

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