Thursday, June 19, 2014

Care Home Operator Appeals Suspension

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 5:26 PM

The operator of Chamberlain’s Residential Care Facility in Eureka is appealing the state's decision to shut the home down last month and issue a temporary suspension of her license. The suspension will be permanent if the order prevails in court.

The state’s order alleged that operator Gina Chamberlain violated numerous health and safety codes, including instances (specifically detailed in the order) of stealing money, property and narcotics from her clients. The state’s complaint asked that she be prohibited “for the remainder of [her] life” from having anything to do with a state-licensed care facility.

Chamberlain’s appeal denies all of the suspension order’s allegations, calling them variously “constitutionally infirm due to a lack of certainty,” “uncertain,” “unclear” and adding that they “lack the specificity required to place her on notice to a degree that she is able to defend herself against said allegations.”

Her appeal also says she wasn't served the accusation properly.

Suzi Fregeau, with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, says she was "extremely surprised" Chamberlain appealed the decision, considering "all the evidence that was collected before the temporary suspension order was even issued — a year’s worth of evidence."

There is one technical curiosity we’re trying to sort out: The suspension order, effective May 8, was filed May 5 by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services. But Chamberlain’s appeal is dated April 16.

Michael Weston, spokesman for the Community Care Licensing Division, says he doesn't know how the appeal happens to be dated several weeks before the suspension order was filed. Fregeau doesn't know either.

David Crane, Chamberlain’s attorney, has not responded to the Journal’s request for an interview.

A pre-hearing conference and a settlement conference are scheduled for Aug. 1 in Oakland. The hearing before an administrative law judge is scheduled for Sept. 8-11, starting at 9:30 a.m. each day, at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka. 

UPDATE: Weston has sent an email clarifying the dates: The Department of Social Services, he says, originally sought revocation of Chamberlain's license to run a care home on April 9. Chamberlain appealed April 16. And on May 5 the department "took additional action to suspend the license immediately."

"Since the appeal had already been filed it was not necessary to file a second appeal," says Weston.
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Heidi Walters

Bio:
Heidi Walters has been a staff writer with the North Coast Journal since 2005.

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