A New Port Richey assisted living facility has lost its license amidst accusations about its care for patients and staffing.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration revoked Hillandale Assisted Living Facility's license in an order dated April 15, the Miami Herald reports. Hillandale’s owners, Gene and Amelia Cowles, face $21,000 in fines and fees.
The agency was cited for failing to adequately staff the facility, not reporting injuries and allowing a caretaker with a history of violence to continue to work at the facility.
Orlando Baez, 59, one of the home's caretakers, faces criminal charges of sexual battery, in connection to alleged abuses at the home.
The facility cares for youg adults with disabilities, like Annie Aponte's daughter, who has autism.
Aponte of Safety Harbor is the mother of a reported abuse victim identified in court documents, as the facility was investigated by state regulators who later revoked its license.
A facility staff member is accused of taking inappropriate photos of her daughter. Aponte said that the court documents contain details of which she was not informed.
Aponte told the Miami Herald that she wants answers about how the facility was able to break patient privacy laws and take inappropriate photos of her daughter. She also said that she wants details on where and how the photos were taken.
The state's order for the facility to close states: Hillandale “failed to provide a safe and decent environment free from abuse and neglect.” It has 30 days to move patients to a different facility.
Hillandale runs two other facilities in Tampa Bay. It was the subject of an investigation by The Miami Herald, called Neglected to Death, which showed the state had allowed scores of problem homes to remain open — sometimes for years — despite a litany of abuses.
The Miami Herald reported that some residents at the Pasco facility were "raped, beaten, drugged and locked in a dank closet."
Virtually since its opening in 2005, administrators with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or APD, and advocates for people with disabilities and mental illness had warned the state health agency about problems at Hillandale and a related facility, Mapleway, near Clearwater.