Judge to decide if Wake Forest assisted living center will close
Posted January 6, 2012
Wake Forest, N.C. — An administrative law judge will decide whether to close a Wake County assisted living facility, where a resident wandered away last month and was fatally hit by a car.
The Wake Forest Care Center, at 306 S. Allen St., was notified Thursday that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was revoking the center's adult-care license after numerous violations and more than $40,000 in fines since 2006.
The center, which houses about 70 people, is also where 79-year-old McKinley High, a dementia patient, lived until he wandered into traffic last month and was hit by a car. He later died.
Following a six-day investigation, the state suspended admissions. On Wednesday, it initiated another complaint investigation and soon followed with the order to close the facility by 5 p.m. Monday. The state will not comment on the latest complaint.
A Superior Court judge on Friday, however, issued a 10-day stay on closing the facility, but the order was later dissolved and assigned to an administrative law judge who will decide what happens to the center.
Richard Cresenzo, the center's owner, told WRAL News Friday that he's shocked by the state's move. He said he runs other facilities and has had no problems with them.
He says some of the issues at Wake Forest Care Center were the result of bad management and that he is working to correct them.
Family members of some of the residents, however, said they had been considering moving their relatives even before the state took action.
One woman, whose mother is a resident, called conditions inside nasty and dirty.
According to state records, the facility received three out of four possible stars during a state inspection in July.
Records beginning in 2009 show the center never received more than one star during five previous inspections, including three ratings of no stars.
The state suspended admissions to the center in February 2009, and it could not accept new patients for six months.
Cresenzo also owns Highgrove Long Term Care Center in Rockingham County. It received a three-stars rating on its last review but was recently fined $12,000 for failure to provide care and services.