State Orders Assisted Living Facility in Fort Payne To Close

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Alabama Department of Public Health has suspended the license of a nursing home in DeKalb County, ordering it to close within 48 hours.

State Health Officer Donald Williamson issued an emergency order Wednesday afternoon against The White House Assisted Living Facility, located at 751 Houston Loop Road in Fort Payne. The order says the facility placed residents at serious risk for imminent harm and are in direct violation of the State Board of Health's Rules for Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities.

The facility has 16 beds, and had four patients at the time of the investigation in January.  Dr. Walter T. Geary, Jr. with the State Health Department said during the check, the team found the facility was not compliant with treatment of dementia and Alzheimers patients.

Specifically, Geary said investigators found a patient had been restrained, one patient had a pressure ulcer (bed sore), and non-licensed employees were administering medications.

Residents have until 3 p.m. Thursday to pack up and move out.

The facility and the Alabama Department of Public Health recently agreed the facility would be sold or closed by May 16, 2014. However, the state says during this negotiation process, The White House Assisted Living Facility continued to operate in a manner that places residents at serious risk of harm.

In its emergency order, the state cited an elderly, confused male resident who wandered away on April 17. He had previously walked off when he was admitted to the facility in February, but the facility did not report that incident within the required time period, and actually, didn't report it until the state was investigating the patient's recent April elopement.

The state's order cites other complaints made against the facility as well.  The facility had four patients as of Tuesday, and Dr. Geary says they discovered the owners had lied about a patient moving out.  The patient is still there.

In the order issued Wednesday, the state orders the facility to suspend all operations within 48 hours, stating its operation poses a danger to the public health, safety and welfare of its residents. It has also suspended its license, effective immediately.

It must also transfer its residents to a new facility and not admit any new residents.

The state will hold a hearing May 20, 2014 at 9 a.m. to discuss the matter further.

Read more in the state's emergency order.

The facility was initially given until their May hearing to prove they addressed the issues or sell to new owners.

But the emergency order came after an elderly, confused patient wandered out of the facility without caregivers noticing.  It was considered by the state as the last straw.

The eviction order came as a surprise for some people who say their family members were happy and well taken care of.

"When he went to the hospital with pneumonia [my dad] kept saying 'I got to get well to get back to the White House. Tell the White House I'm coming home'," said Rock Stone, whose father recently moved in the facility.

Danny LaMunyon had similar praises, saying his mother, who had lived at the facility for 18 months, was well taken care of.

LaMunyon is struggling to find a new home for his mother, who is in hospice care. He has found a potential facility in Scottsboro, but is worried he won't get approval.

The current owners are in the process of selling the facility to new management.


  • Penney Leslie

    Good, I’m sure it must be really bad if they are doing that. I’ve been through many state surveys in my 18 years as a nurse and if they went to this extreme, it had to be a horrible situation because they will usually bed over backwards to work with you.

  • Debra thompson

    I think sometimes the state jumps the gun they are over zealous to close down assisted living facilities and leave everyone no choice but a nursing home and then they can be put there and forgotten cause everyone knows when the inspectors come to nursing homes and they clear out all violations before they get there
    Sad Sad
    Hospitals are also notified beforehand

    You want to know about what happens at assisted living ask the residents or their families they will tell you

    • Willie

      Obviously, debra thompson, should be kept away from the weak in our society (children, elderly, sick/infirmed, etc. as your ignorance and lack of compassion would be a danger to the aforementioned. What part of bed sores, restrained patient, and non-licensed employees administering medication confused you? Anyone who thinks these things are O.K. is either a babbling idiot or a sadist.

    • Ronnie Stinson

      You seriously believe this location should still be open …. I do not care what you feel about nursing homes, this place should be demolished at the end of the 48 hours… Alabama state law does not allow the use of any form of restraints without very strict guidlines and on thoses types of patients it is a very big no no….

    • Karinttt

      There’s something wrong with this comment… If you’re right and they do have prior knowledge of when inspections will be conducted and clear them out…Then this place is much worse than we think because they either hid more violations (according to you), or they were incredibly nonplussed (stupid to me). Besides failing to read the article closely, your statement about the State of Alabama “jumping the gun” is laughable. No way are they overly “zealous.” It’s also interesting to note that you say “they” will be forgotten. Most people are not forgotten, they have families and loved ones who care about them. If they’re forgotten, the families and loved ones can be blamed for that unless they’re totally without either. And, if you read, these patients had months to relocate. This facility is tasked with finding placesto to which to transfer their patients where family members are not available.

    • alley smith

      People in nursing homes are only forgotten when the family chooses to forget them and Nobody should be Performance any Kind of care that is out if there scope of practice if that was your mom dad or chill with pressure ulcers or being restrained u would Hit the roof….that is if You have a heart and fyi….nursing facilities and hospitals DO NOT know when State surveyers will walk in…..get your facts Straight

  • Sandra Prater Treen

    My father was there until my brother and sister moved in to TN. He was basically put in there so he would not be living by himself. If I had been living here he wouldn’t have went at all he would have been with me. But he fell more times then I can count when he was there because they don’t want to supervise their patients. He has been in the place he is at now for 2 years and hasn’t fell like he did there. My father will be 93 years old this July and still in pretty good mind and still talks good at times. The other times he still knows who people are but he mumbles more then making words. He didn’t like it there either. So Debra Thompson… unless you have had experience with this place think about those of us that has. I’m glad they are closing down

    • Bill

      DHR gives these places a 24 hour notice to let know they are coming so they had to be really messed up to get caught.

  • Mac Eubanks

    The last line of the article says the state will hold a hearing on May 20 to discuss the matter further. What’s left to discuss?

  • Bill

    What is disturbing to me is that I worked in a place in Dekalb county similar to the assisted living home, except it was a state sanctioned mental facility, and I reported almost identical charges and the place is still operating. It has been almost a month ago since I filed the charges to the Department of Human Resources. In my facility, the company nurse was intoxicated one day when she reported to work. She even hit a co-workers vehicle pulling into the parking lot the morning it happened. Then, she came into the training area stumbling, dropping pills, her glasses, and could hardly keep her eyes open. She even tried to give clients extra medication and the clients had to tell her they had already received their medicine. She was escorted out of our area and into the lobby by management, only after it was observed by around 5 staff members and numerous clients. When I got ready to leave work that day around 2 p.m., she was still there intoxicated and my bosses were arguing because one of them did not want to call the police because she was trying to leave. I went out the door to the nurse’s car and into the parking lot and ordered her to get out of her vehicle and come back inside. She did not even know mine or my bosses name and denied she was on anything and she still works at the place. I was a military policeman and my boss was a civilian policeman, so both of us have done field sobriety tests on people suspected to be under the influence. However, nothing was done except they moved her to weekends! I thought the nurse was fired, until a couple of weeks later when we had a client with blood in his urine and they had to call a nurse to check on him. Low and behold, the same nurse came in and checked on him. I could not believe it. I reported abuse at one the homes that one of the clients lived in numerous times when he told me he was being abused, only to be told that the client was lying and had several behavior problems. However, I had him exclusively for almost six months with not one behavior problem. Furthermore, I hardly saw any of the clients receiving medication on a regular basis and when they did, it sometimes was not the nurse that administered it to them. We had these clients for six hours a day and a number of them were required to take more than one psychotropic medication a day. However, I rarely saw them take more than tylenol or pepto bismol. I also had co-workers that had money stolen. I told them to watch their belongings because we had a thief and I was threatened to be fired and my hours cut if I did not be quiet about it. There were fights out there almost every day among clients and staff. The company was cited about a week before I quit for abuse and neglect because one of my co-workers kicked a mans hand off his walker. It was the most unprofessional disgusting place I have ever worked and I feel sorry for people who have loved ones there. I hope someone cares enough for these people to someday shut this place down before they kill somebody!

  • Penney Leslie

    Like I stated before, I have been a nurse for over 18 yrs. I’ve seen it all. If they did shut this place down, it had to be bad. They give chance after chance to fix the problems you are cited with. There is a reporting process and a time limit. I also know 100% as a fact that nursing homes do not get notified in advance that State is coming….I can’t count the times we have been surprised, by them walking in and showing their badges. By the way, when state is at a facility, families are welcome to walk up and speak to them and talk about anything they want to. It’s probably THE best time, so they can pull charts, records and reports. They can interview staff and families right then instead of waiting until the next visit like when you call them. Let me say this, I know for sure, the more time YOU spend with your loved one, the better the staff will take care of them. Its just a sad fact that the squeeky wheel gets the oil. If you leave them alone and lonely, so will others. They are understaffed and overworked. Those CNA’s have at least 10-15 patients each and everyday and the nurses have about 30-40 depending on the facility. Don’t ever kid yourself that they are being paid enough or that it’s an easy job.

  • had

    I know they dont know when the exact day they are coming but they have a time window. They just left a moldy, leaking roofed, and not as nice as it seems place in alabama. They knew ariund the time they were coming because everything was getting fixed at a quick pace. Had they walked in 6 montgs ago unexpected they most likely be shut down also.

    • Penney Leslie

      You are correct “had” there is a time window for state visits and when the facility must comply with the tag corrections. They must get back into compliance by the date of revisit or by showing paper work proof, such as training or medical treatment etc. It just depends on the tag and the facility.

  • sheila

    I have heard that White House was not the place that my brother needed to stay. I also heard that the home in Powel was not a place for him. Thank goodness for Dr. Ronnie Lewis letting me know about Wills Creek Assisted living. My brother is very happy there and they go out of their way to find activities that he enjoys.

  • Lou

    I could ad more to what I have to say I too am a nurse but I will not comitt a HIPPA violation on my self. Just first hand I have seen what happens to residents that lived there. I also worked with a nurse that got fired from my place and I know what for, she was put in charge at the White House so I can only immagine what she did there.

  • dc

    Well, Dr. Satan it is not a lot of trash talk!!!! I had a loved one there and now she is somewhere else, there was always things that were in question!!!!!!!!

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