New task force formed to help end local personal care home neglect

HARLEM, Ga. (WJBF)– Law enforcement is cracking down on some personal care homes in the area. After several incidents this year, two resulting in death, a personal care home task force has been formed to help end the neglect.

Back in April, a veteran died at Open Arms personal care home due to a bedsore infection that spread to his bones and was left untreated. And in July, a man died at Dynasty Care home, and we are still awaiting his autopsy results.

But an investigator for the District Attorney’s office on a new task force says those are just the first of many cases that are beginning to unfold.

“Somewhere along the line, someone should have been picking up on this before it got to the point of somebody losing their life,” Angela Lokey, owner of West Forrest Personal Care Home, said.

Lokey has owned the care home for 11 years. She said ‘enough is enough’ when she heard 59 year old Edward Dath died at Dynasty Personal Care home. But she says the care home owners are not the only people who should be held accountable.

“The provider is supposed to be going every 14 days to check their books, make sure these people are getting their medication, that everything is up to state guidelines,” Lokey explained.

She said providers are certified by the state, and right off the top, a provider gets a certain amount of money for each medicaid patient that’s in a care home they are contracted for. Lokey said these providers are taking their paycheck, but not checking out the homes they are assigned.

“Basically what it is… is people out here taking people’s money, and the people are laying there dying,” Lokey said.

Investigator William Loomer said District Attorney Natalie Paine has recently set up a personal care home task force. Loomer along with the Richmond County Marshal’s Office, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Coroner’s office, and the state’s Department of Community Health have joined together to tackle the problem of poorly managed care homes.

Investigator Loomer said the task force is in the early stages, but in the past month alone, two arrests have been made, Dynasty Personal Care home has been shut down, and three more closures are pending.

Maxine Donaldson who worked at Shavonna’s was arrested Monday and accused of stealing more than $27,000 from an Alzheimer patient. Another woman, Tara Henderson, was arrested the next day accused of running an unlicensed personal care home.

Angela Lokey told me that if you are looking a personal care home for your loved one, there are some things you need to check out first: Make sure you see state and business licenses as well as a recent state inspection.

If you see anything suspicious with your family member or in the facility, call your local sheriff’s office.

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