Less than a block away, the state also took action against Briarwood Manor, cutting funding to a home where police and rescue workers have rushed to more than 1,200 emergencies in the past five years, including stabbings, fights and residents suffering psychiatric breakdowns.
Twice since 2005 the state could have shut down the home, but allowed it to stay in open while reducing $370,000 in fines by 74 percent. Owner Andy Subachan did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Since The Heralds series, Neglected to Death, at least 120 other homes were hit with fines, revocations and other enforcement actions.
Several homes were targeted to lose state dollars for not safeguarding vulnerable residents, including Hillandale in Pasco County and Mily Home Care in Miami-Dade where caretakers were cited for failing to protect mentally disabled women who were sexually assaulted in the facilities.
Experts say the loss of Medicaid funding can vary from $300 per resident a month to more than $1,000 per resident, depending on the level of disability and income. For most homes, its a death knell, said Doug Coffey, who operates a home in Pinellas County. They cant make it on that kind of margin.
At least a dozen homes targeted in the crackdown were identified in The Heralds investigation as troubled facilities the state allowed to stay open including Sunshine Acres Loving Care in the Panhandle.
The past owner, Bruce Hall, was caught punishing residents by beating them, refusing to give them food and medicine and threatening them with a stick racking up 115 violations. Yet he was able to run it continuously for 14 years until he was ordered by the state to sell it in 2009.
But the problems continued: During a state inspection on July 8, regulators found that some residents were forced to sleep on broken-down mattresses and bed springs covered with cardboard.
Though a well serving the home was found to be contaminated, residents were forced to use the dirty water to take showers. Regulators also found the same water was being mixed into lemonade for the residents.
An employee who answered the phone on Friday declined to answer any questions, saying only that the home was being shuttered and all residents were removed.
State Sen. Nan Rich said she was heartened by the states efforts, but is concerned that the effort will eventually wane. Those were good laws on the books, said the Weston Democrat, who sits on the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee. But its a bit sad that this is what it takes to get this kind of attention.
Miami Herald staff writers Kenny Malone and Rob Barry contributed to this report.