Ruth Marie's Country Home officially opened its doors in Jewett in 2008; since then the business of providing long-term care inside group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities -- has, according to its website -- grown exponentially.
According to the Department of Aging and Disability Services, or DADS; a three-day investigation at a number of Ruth Marie’s Country Home locations across the state resulted in staff members who are now being accused of neglect; serious allegations that have consequently called for the business to hand over its certification to the state.
According to its website, Ruth Marie’s Country Home has locations in Waco, Brenham, College Station, Jewett, Conroe and Spring.
A contract review was conducted on Ruth Marie’s Country Home Inc., from July 25 to July 27; as a result, DADS recommended its contract to be forfeited to the state – effective August 13, 2012.
“Our principal concern was a serious lack of medical care for the clients being served under this contract. It wasn’t just an issue in one home,” said DADS press officer, Cecilia Cavuto. “Our regulatory teams visited a range of homes in different cities where these clients were receiving services, including the home in Jewett, and found a pattern of residents not receiving timely, appropriate medical care they needed. “
Cavuto said it’s believed the lack of timely medical care may have contributed to the death of an individual receiving care from Ruth Marie’s Country Home in Jewett.
The contract review also revealed a lack of adequate food in several of the homes across the state.
“Individuals who could communicate with our staff told us they were hungry,” explained Cavuto.
Furthermore, multiple errors were discovered in providing medication to clients; staff members in the homes were also unaware of the individuals’ specific medical conditions and what precautions they needed to follow. Lastly, Cavuto said staff was unaware of the existence of behavior support plans for individuals they worked with.
“These plans spell out how to meet their emotional and behavioral health needs,” said Cavuto. “Needless to say, these violations posed a grave risk to the health and safety of the individuals served under this contract. These individuals are vulnerable, and it’s absolutely critical that they receive timely and appropriate care and services. “
All 55 clients of the various homes were informed of the action being taken by DADS and were given the option remain with this provider until his appeal rights were exhausted – or choose to transfer to another program provider. Cavuto said all of the individuals in the contract have chosen other providers and have transferred out.
We contacted director James Ruth Simpson for comment. He has yet to return our call.