MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)-- It's seemingly business as usual at Restore Care facilities despite the group home provider's Alabama Department of Mental Health decertification and prompt appeal last September.
The state previously alleged 140 cases of abuse or neglect at Restore Care, claims refuted by operator Doctor Celia Lloyd-Turney. The Department tried to remove residents from Restore Care last September, citing concerns about "irreparable harm," but was blocked by a Madison County judge who ruled the state didn't prove its case. Dr. Turney denied the claims, saying they weren't true and the Department didn't have the full story. Restore Care appealed the decertification.
(To read WHNT News 19's extensive coverage on the Restore Care situation, click here.)
WHNT News 19 is following up with the process now there has been time for the appeals process to go forward.
We reached out to Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Jim Perdue, who confirms Restore Care is still in operation with residents living in the group homes.
He said, "I expect it to have a happy ending," explaining that Restore Care staff have a plan of action to "correct any findings." He said there's mediation going on for Restore Care and its attorneys to work with the state on this.
He said a hearing on the decertification has not yet been scheduled, and may not be needed. Recertification could take place without one, assuming things continue on this path. He said he needs to see proof that there is positive progress to address the alleged concerns, but did not confirm what kind of steps were being taken.
We asked if there was still a concern about consumers being in immediate danger, as previously alleged in September. Perdue said they were not, and it was the Alabama DMH's job to monitor the situation.
He said he feels confident things were going to work out, and the mediation between Restore Care and the state could be finished by the end of the month. That step would mean recertification was eminent.
That's great news to Pamela Sparks, whose son Drew we introduced you to last September. He lives in one of the Restore Care group homes. She said it's been a stressful few months.
"It's been stressful because of course, we don't want [Restore Care] to close," she explained. "He's happy there, we want him to stay there."
Sparks said Drew needs to be where he is.
"His care has been awesome, yes," she said. "They've always taken good care of him and I feel like they will continue to do so."
We also spoke with Marcus Maples, attorney for Restore Care. He explained they're providing the state with relevant information addressing any concerns. He said of Dr. Turney,
"From the beginning, she's been determined to demonstrate to the Department that Restore Care stands by its consumers and I think to this day that is still her stance. She is very determined to get everything back in place."
He said the business has been affected by the decertification, although he said he could not elaborate how.
He added he couldn't speak directly to the things Restore Care is doing during mediation, but it has always been Restore Care's intent to provide superior service and they want to continue to do that.