FAIRLAND - The state Health Department has rejected two improvement plans developed by a residential care facility that was investigated for not protecting residents.
Green Country Residential, which cares for the mentally ill, plans to challenge the agency's findings at a hearing in September that could lead to suspending or revoking the facility's license.
Green Country, owned by Bedford Enterprise LLC, opened two years ago in a renovated motel along the main road in Fairland and houses more than 20 residents. The facility's administrator, Cindy Bedford, is also listed as a stockholder and partner.
The Oklahoma Department of Health investigated in April and May after receiving complaints alleging residents were improperly medicated, verbally abused and neglected.
The 47-page investigative report found several deficiencies, including a lack of resident supervision, not administering medications properly and not protecting residents from harm.
Bedford referred questions to her attorneys, David Jones and Mike Torrone of Grove. The attorneys issued a written statement saying the center did not violate Health Department rules. It stated that the regulations used to cite the deficiencies were based on events that occurred when residents were not on the center's property.
The statement said the center is not responsible for providing physical or mental restraint of residents.
“Green Country Residential is not a lockdown facility as would be the case with some mental health institutions. Rather, it is a home where the residents are permitted to come and go as they please,” the statement said.
Among the incidents of concern, is one in which a resident walked away from the facility in February and onto a road where he was hit and killed by a truck. That resident went missing from the center seven times in 37 days.
In a separate incident, police were called when a resident jumped a fence into a nearby child-care center's play area with children outside.
Another complaint alleged that Bedford threatened to evict a female resident and yelled profanities at her, which prompted the resident to punch out a window and cut herself.
Dorya Huser, chief of long-term care for the department, said a plan of correction was submitted by the center last week, but Health Department staff have not reviewed it.
However, the center officials are contesting the report's findings. The hearing will settle the dispute.
“They're not agreeing that they've done anything wrong,” Huser said.
Huser said the center was given a directed plan of correction last week, which comes after the rejection of two improvement plans.
Green Country Residential administrators have 30 days to implement a directed plan of correction, according to a June 26 letter written by Jerry M. Taylor, enforcement coordinator of the state Department of Health's Protective Health Division.
The directed plan gives the residential facility until July 30 to:
€ Develop and implement abuse/neglect/misappropriation/mistreatment prevention policies that will prohibit all forms of abuse and neglect.
€ Instate measures to notify the state Health Department, within 24 hours, of all incidents pertaining to fire, storm damage, death (other than natural), residents missing, extended utility failure and other critical incidents.
€ Develop policies and procedures to provide safe and accurate administration of medications.
€ Implement involuntary transfer or discharge policies.
The Health Department is seeking a fine of $100 a day for every day the center is not in compliance, up to $10,000.