State health officials have ruled that a San Luis Obispo nursing home for children no longer qualifies to participate in the state’s Medi-Cal program, according to a notice placed in The Tribune on Wednesday.
The decision effectively shuts down the de Groot Nursing Home for medically fragile children, which depends on the Medi-Cal payments to operate.
The provider agreement between the California Department of Public Health and the de Groot home — licensed as an intermediate care facility for individuals with an intellectual disability — will end Oct. 8, the notice states.
Reached by telephone Wednesday, Sjany de Groot, 86, said she hadn’t yet seen the notice but said she has submitted a letter to the state saying the facility would forfeit its license as of Oct. 9.
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In her letter, de Groot wrote, “Due to federal and state licensing visit requiring items that have never been requested in the prior 23 years … (items such as solid walls and different bathing facilities), we are regrettably forfeiting our license.”
“I have yet to receive an answer to ‘Why now’ or ‘What has changed?’ to no avail,” she wrote. “But, let it be known, my home is open to help a child and family in need and ‘I will never give up!’ ”
De Groot said the Tri-Counties Regional Center, a nonprofit that provides case-management services to the children and their families, is working to relocate two of the five children who live at her home.
De Groot said she and her daughter, Wendy, have legal guardianship over the other three children. She said she would continue to care for them with the cost of their care coming from her savings, Social Security money and a pension from her native country of Holland.
In an email response to questions, Tri-Counties Regional Center spokeswoman Heather Wennergren said the center is “working with the families of any of the children who need to move to find them new homes and will do everything in our power to make the transition as smooth as possible. We will continue to work in partnership with the de Groots to ensure any children remaining in their care get the support they need.”
Wennergren couldn’t comment on individual cases, citing patient confidentiality laws.
The state public health department did not respond to questions about the notice by late Wednesday.
De Groot has operated her facility on Buchon Street since 1980. The five children now living there range in age from 2 to 16 years old. The three children she and her daughter have guardianship over are ages 8, 10 and 13.
After a visit to the de Groot home this summer, state public health officials filed a 94-page report citing numerous deficiencies.
Their report, based on a three-day survey of the home, included problems found in earlier visits that in some cases — including outdated physical and dental exams — have gotten worse.
They gave de Groot until Sept. 30 to submit a plan of correction that the state deems acceptable or face termination from the Medi-Cal program, from which she receives funding to care for the children.
De Groot submitted two plans of correction, but both were denied by the department’s health and human services agency.
She said Wednesday that she does not plan to submit another plan, nor does she plan to make some of the changes, such as adding walls to provide privacy between beds.
In its list of other deficiencies, the state report said the facility doesn’t have enough staff to ensure each child has an active treatment plan with structured activities, which is “denying all five clients the right to achieve functioning at their highest level possible.”
Other problems identified in the report include deflated wheelchair tires, no consulting services for physical therapy for one of the children since 2007, not enough paid staff working 24 hours a day and a failure to ensure that each child had a closet and bedroom — the latter defined as a room with an outside wall.