Care home closing amid state scrutiny

<p>Country Spice, a residential care facility on South Canyon Boulevard, is closing in the wake of a license revocation action by the state.</p>

JOHN DAY – Facing state action to revoke its license, the Country Spice care facility is closing its doors.

State officials confirmed last week that nearly all of the residents had been moved out of the home at 813 S. Canyon Blvd.

Gene Evans, Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) spokesman, said state caseworkers and local senior services advocates have been assessing the residents’ needs and working with Country Spice and the families to find appropriate placements.

Meanwhile, Country Spice is the focus of a criminal case stemming from the death of a resident, Doris Dorsey, 83, last October. Employees Vanessa Holmstrom and Thomas Hamilton Houpt III were arraigned on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges Aug. 10 in Grant County Circuit Court.

The grand jury indictment in that case contends the couple, who were running the home, failed to provide care, medical attention and nourishment for Dorsey. They are scheduled to enter pleas in the case on Dec. 5.

Evans said the licensing action and closure was not precipitated by the criminal case, but grew out of monitoring and review by DHS.

The agency issued a “notice of intent to revoke” the care facility’s license on Aug. 30. The notice said noncompliance with the state rules “constitutes a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the Facility’s residents.”

The notice was sent to Stacie Holmstrom, the registered agent for M&S Holmstrom LLC and mother of Vanessa Holmstrom. The company was issued a license to run Country Spice in April 2011.

“Since such time as the license became active, the Department has received numerous complaints of alleged abuse, as well as demonstrated noncompliance with applicable rules,” the notice said.

It noted seven substantiated Adult and Protective Services complaints from Sept. 20, 2011 through Feb. 15, 2012.

State records concerning the complaints cite care and medication issues. One case involved a patient who didn’t receive an ordered medication; another received an incorrect dose; and others saw declining health due to failure to intervene or monitor changing conditions.

The revocation notice indicates the state had repeated contacts with the facility to address concerns, including:

• A survey in November 2011 that found residents at risk of harm due to noncompliance with state rules. The result was an order to restrict admissions and require training for the licensee and facility’s registered nurse, more hours of RN time, and increased staffing.

• A revist in February 2012 found the facility was “not in substantial compliance” regarding RN training, and the license conditions from the earlier order were continued in effect.

• A civil penalty was assessed in April based on finding that the home failed to follow a care plan and arrange needed doctor appointments for a resident whose health was declining.

• A revisit last April also cited noncompliance, and a final order was issued requiring the home to retain an RN consultant, who would approve any new resident admissions. It also required minimum staffing, training and reporting requirements.

• A July revisit also found compliance issues.

The reports led to the August decision to revoke the license. The notice gave 21 days to contest the decision and request a hearing, but the operators informed the agency they had decided to close the facility.

Evans said there were 13 patients at the time of the notice. State records list the facility’s capacity as 28, but the admissions had been restricted during the state’s efforts to monitor the level of care.

Stacie Holmstrom did not return call for comment on the closure.

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