Scott Schuett, who currently operates five assisted living facilities in Hampton Roads, had his administrator and preceptor licenses revoked by the Virginia Board of Long-Term Care Administrators on Tuesday.
After two hours of testimony by state inspectors on conditions involving code violations at three of his facilities — Ashwood Assisted Living in Hampton, Madison Retirement Center in Williamsburg, and Oakwood Assisted Living in Suffolk — the Board deliberated for 30 minutes before voting to revoke Schuett's licenses. Schuett has owned assisted living facilities in the region since 2003. The problems cited at the hearing involved conditions observed in 2011 and 2012. The decision does not prevent him from owning or operating homes with licensed administrators on site.
Schuett was a no-show at the hearing. He informed the Board that morning that family illness prevented him from attending the formal public hearing held in Henrico County. The hearing followed the Sept. 13 suspension of Schuett's licenses, the Board having determined that his practice posed "a substantial danger to the public health and safety"
The Board also levied a $25,000 fine against Schuett. Lisa Hahn, executive director of the Board, deemed the fine "suitable" for the 28 violations presented. Schuett was informed of the vote by phone. He did not return phone calls for comment. In an interview prior, he indicated that he expected to lose his license and talked of returning to his home state, Michigan. The regulations allow him to petition for reinstatement after three years and the payment of the fine.
Five witnesses spoke about conditions at Schuett's homes. Virginia Goodell, licensing inspector for the Department of Social Services, described the ongoing problems at Madison, a home she described as having a "high population of chronically mentally ill adults." Complaints ranged from a lack of food and infestations of cockroaches and bed bugs to fist fights and the delayed report of the death of a diabetic resident who refused medical care.
Ivy Burnham, the inspector for Ashwood, presented a similarly long list of infractions involving insufficient staffing, undocumented medication administration, failure to follow admissions policies and poor record keeping. Burnham estimated that 90 percent of the facility's residents have mental health issues. Both facilities are in jeopardy of losing their licenses.
Trish Meyer, licensing administrator for the Eastern Regional Office of the Department of Social Services, reviewed inspections from Oakwood. She observed that there had been 19 reported assaults of residents within six months, alone evidence of insufficient supervision.
The Department of Social Services is mandated to conduct one inspection a year at assisted living facilities. Newly opened homes receive a 6-month conditional license; after that, if they are in compliance, they are issued a regular license good for from one to three years. If inspections reveal problems, they are issued a provisional license for up to six months.
At the three facilities cited at the hearing, the DSS conducted multiple inspections, many focused on particular complaints and code violations, others to monitor compliance. The inspectors acknowledged that Schuett formulated improvement plans and achieved piecemeal successes, but concluded that there was no overall improvement in conditions at the homes, which were often without qualified administrators on site.
Have a complaint?
The Department of Social Services oversees facilities; the Department of Health Professions oversees the administrators. To complain about conditions, call the Regional Office of the Division of Licensing, Department of Social Services. Inspection reports are available online at http://www.dss.virginia.gov, click on Adults, then Assisted Living Facilities. Each facility should be able to provide the name and contact information for its inspector.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times