The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has threatened to revoke the license of the The Groomes Rest Home in Seat Pleasant, charging that its operators failed to follow state health regulations.
Owners of the home recently received a letter from the health department citing numerous violations of state health regulations and ordering the 11-bed facility closed. The home is a domiciliary care unit licensed to care for patients who do not need the more sophisticated and frequent medical care provided by nursing homes.
Among the violations cited by the division of licensing and certification. Fire drills were not held quarterly; several employes failed to file employment applications, and take pre-employment physicals and current tuberculin tests; some medical labels did not correpond to doctors' prescriptions; and medical evaluations of patients were not made every six months, as regulations require.
State officials said the violations went uncorrected for nearly a year, despite several inspections and warnings.
"We really are not anxious to close any facilities," said William Gordon, director of the state health department's division of licensing and certification. "The problem is that we've been trying to straighten this facility out for more than a year. We just haven't gotten much cooperation from the people who run it."
Gordon said that under state law, state officials cannot ban admissions to domicilliary care units, as they can in nursing homes, as a preliminary step to revocation of a license. However, the operators of a domiciliary care home can appeal decisions by the division of licenses and certification, and the home can remain open until the appeal is heard.
The attorney for the owner of the Groomes Home said he would not discuss the case. But William Jensen, of the health department's Office of Hearings and Regulations, said the operators had filed an appeal with his office. The hearing for that appeal is scheduled for Aug. 6.
"The problems may be resolved by the time the hearing rolls around," said Jensen, who is chief hearing examiner of the division. "Quite often, the licenses comply before the evidentiary hearing."
According to Jensen, the rest home will be able to remain open at least until the hearing. Eleven elderly patient's being cared for at the home.