Miami-Dade County

Home for elders accused of losing a resident (twice), dumping another who couldn’t pay

The license of this care home in the Miami Gardens area was suspended by the state after an inspection found troubling conditions.
The license of this care home in the Miami Gardens area was suspended by the state after an inspection found troubling conditions. rkoltun@miamiherald.com

A Miami-Dade care home that allegedly deprived frail elders of their medication, twice lost track of one resident and dumped another in a hotel over lack of payment has had its license suspended by the state.

In all, six residents were neglected at the Miami Gardens-area home — three of them so severely they had to be hospitalized.

The home, at 1415 NE 200th St. in unincorporated Miami-Dade, was licensed by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to care for five disabled adults or frail elders within a private residence. On Nov. 9, AHCA’s deputy secretary, Molly McKinstry, filed an emergency order suspending the home’s license — effectively shutting down the home, at least temporarily. The care home is owned by 54-year-old Claudene Barthelus.

Under Barthelus’ license, she was to provide room, board and personal care around the clock, including monitoring the health of residents and ensuring they receive medications and wound care.

But the 14-page suspension order offers a litany of alleged failures, some of them life threatening.

One resident, identified only as Resident 1, moved into the home on Oct. 6 with a range of diagnoses, including bouts of disorientation, and diabetes. Resident 1 also was at risk of falling. The day after Resident 1 was admitted, the resident was hospitalized with high blood sugar, and was discharged five days later with a two-month supply of insulin.

Three days after returning to the home, Resident 1 was right back in the hospital. “There is no indication that [Barthelus] obtained the services of skilled nursing care, and there is no indication the resident’s insulin was administered,” the order says. Resident 1 returned to Barthelus’ home on Oct. 18, but was hospitalized yet again the next day. In all, the order said, Barthelus accepted the resident into her home three times despite the fact that she could not care for him or her.

Resident 2 was hospitalized after a fall — despite being admitted to the home on Oct. 30 with weakness in his or her right side, and under fall precautions. “The resident was unable to obtain assistance from [caregivers] and called an adult sibling to obtain emergency medical services,” the order said.

Resident 3 moved into Barthelus’ home on Oct. 14. The resident required help administering medication, the order says, but there’s “no indication [Barthelus] notified the resident’s healthcare provider or responsible party that the resident was not receiving prescribed medication.” Nine days later, Resident 3 was hospitalized as well. “The resident’s medications remained in a bag at [Barthelus’] facility as of Nov. 1,” the order said.

Another resident, who is diagnosed with dementia, told authorities there wasn’t enough food in the home, and had lost 10 pounds before regulators moved to suspend the home. The order said Barthelus had failed to record residents’ weights, and was unaware Resident 4 was deteriorating.

Resident 5, who could not leave his or her bed, was left in a hotel room on Oct. 23 after running out of money. And Resident 6’s pressure sore worsened from Stage I to Stage II while in Barthelus’ care. “There is no indication that [Barthelus] obtained the services of a licensed professional to assess or treat the resident’s pressure ulcer,” the order said.

The home “failed to honor the residents’ rights to live in a safe and decent living environment free from abuse and neglect, and to have access to adequate and appropriate healthcare,” the order said. Barthelus, the order said, “exhibited a willing and negligent disregard for the rights and needs of [her] residents.”

But Barthelus said she cares for her patients.

“I like them. They like me,” she said.

She said she didn’t want to say anything else because she didn’t know what AHCA had released.

“I say something, they say something else,” Barthelus said.

AHCA records show Barthelus’ home had violated state regulations before.

In August, the home was cited for not having proof of an up-to-date county health inspection. It also had no proof of passing recent fire inspections. The last one noted violations.

A month prior to this, the sister of a resident complained that Barthelus tried to charge her $171.60 for her brother’s ironing. The owner also tried to charge a 15 percent late fee despite never having set a monthly due date for payments.

In April of this year, AHCA noted that one resident had gone missing from the home twice before, but this was never documented. And Barthelus never called police. On another occasion documented in the same report, Barthelus took a resident to an unnamed office to find out about the resident’s benefits. Barthelus told AHCA officials that she left the resident with a case manager and went home. The case manager called it abandonment, noting Barthelus had been frustrated with the resident.

And in May 2016, Barthelus was cited for not having documentation to prove her completion of a required 12-hour training program. She also lacked proof of first-aid training.

Health administrators declined to discuss Barthelus’ home with a Herald reporter.

AHCA did release a short statement: “The Agency takes resident health and safety very seriously for the facilities that we regulate, and we will hold those facilities that fail to protect residents accountable. The emergency suspension prohibits this facility from operating an adult family care home, and we have taken action to revoke the facility license, which is pending litigation.”

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