State seeks to shut down personal care facility

by: Tom Regan Updated:


CUMMING, Ga. - The Georgia Department of Community Health has asked an administrative hearing judge to revoke the operating license of an assisted living home in Forsyth County.

"They were not properly safeguarding the safety of the residents," said Deborah Smith, a state inspector.

Smith testified at a licensing hearing that she paid a surprise visit to Tara Plantation in Cumming in December and found it to be inadequately staffed and lax in job screening of caregivers.
She stated the facility failed to conduct a background criminal check and tuberculosis screening of a caregiver.

"They're caring for vulnerable residents and most residents in a personal care are elderly, have chronic diseases and so their immunity would be compromised and they would be more apt to infection," Smith said.

The state said the facility had failed fire safety regulations, including time requirements for fire drill evacuations.
During cross examination, Smith acknowledged the facility had beefed up staffing.
A former employee who was called to testify at the hearing told Channel 2's Tom Regan that he was instructed to alter the time it took to evacuate residents on documents filed with the state.

"Sometimes it would take longer than the amount of time put on paperwork. And that was not OK with the state. I could no longer forge documents or make them look better than they should and go home and sleep at night," Robert Gaines said.

A representative for Assisted Living Concepts, which owns Tara Plantation, dismissed Gaines' allegations.

"The report is false. This individual lacks credibility as a convicted felon and his statements should be viewed within that context," Joshua Silberberg with Assisted Living Concepts said.

In an earlier email, a representative for ALC stated, "ALC is confident of the facts showing Tara Plantation is complying with Georgia regulations. Our goal is to continue to improve and to raise the quality of care at Tara Plantation. We look forward to resolving this matter and continuing to focus our full attention on the needs of our residents and their families."