RALEIGH, N.C. — License renewal applications for rest homes are due in to the state Wednesday. Stricter penalties could be on the way for owners who are not truthful on the documents as a state commission wants to close a legal loophole.
Last January, 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient
wandered out of a Wendell rest home and was hit and killed by a Jeep. In April,
disappeared from the Meadows rest home of Garner. His body turned up in a lake nearly a week later. Fines are pending in both cases yet the licenses for both will likely be renewed.
"If they can't get it right in one facility, why should any of us in this state think they can get it right in a new facility. It doesn't make sense to me," said Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue.
Perdue urged a study commission Wednesday to fix a problem with legislation designed to shut down facilities with persistent problems. The law has been on the books since 1999, but owners of some facilities have found creative ways around it.
"They go out of business, then re-enfranchise themselves and open up another franchise with another name and are allowed to do that," advocate Bill Lamb said.
"We should make it a crime in North Carolina not to tell the truth on those applications," Perdue said.
The owners of some rest homes argue the wording on license applications is ambiguous and needs to be clarified.
Both the Oliver House rest home in Wendell and the Meadows in Garner are parts of chains. Oliver House has had several names over the years. The Meadows has never changed its name. Both owners deny lying on license applications.