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HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A woman moved her mom out of a Holland Township adult foster care home after only four months there.
"I felt just very uneasy with my mom being there," she told Target 8 investigators.
The woman, who asked not to be identified to protect her mother's privacy, said there was "a lot of staff turnover" at Renwood AFC (Adult Foster Care).
"When I asked questions, I didn't always get an answer or whatever staff that I talked to didn't know what was going on," she said.
She said her mother is diabetic and needs balanced, regular meals -- but didn't always get them at the Renwood.
After receiving the woman's complaint, Target 8 investigators began looking into the background the adult foster care home and its operator Tricia Parsons. The search revealed a history of regulations violations and financial problems.
In the last four years, state inspectors conducted 14 special investigations and found nine violations.
Some of the complaints were about food. In three cases, the Michigan Department of Human Services inspector found that most residents said the food provided at Renwood was acceptable.
But the investigator also found weight records showed that 10 of the 13 residents had lost weight since they moved in.
An inspector reported that an employee served food on the table top and not on plates, which is a violation of state regulations.
Another employee got a resident to renew his government food assistance account, which he was no longer entitled to do. The worker then used the card to buy food for the house: Another violation.
There were other kinds of violations as well. A friend of the operator, a convicted felon, worked as a handyman at Renwood and on one occasion was allowed to pass medications to residents without supervision.
Another time, an inspector found the office door open and drugs in an unlocked file cabinet.
Operator Tricia Parsons has been in the adult foster care business since the 1990s and has a history of problems. She canceled an interview with Target 8 and declined to call back to reschedule.
Parsons operated an unregulated home -- an assisted living facility in Palo in Ionia County -- that burned in January 2010, killing two residents. The fire was caused by a candle that a resident lit before falling asleep.
Parsons has also had financial trouble. A 2008 bankruptcy followed lawsuits and federal tax liens amounting to about $170,000. In 1999, she borrowed money from a resident, which is a criminal violation of the vulnerable adult protection laws.
Last month, Consumers Energy gave the Renwood home a power shutoff notice. Another Parsons home, Gibbs AFC in Belding, got an intent to disconnect notice and had the water shut off for one day in March.
There is no smoking gun in any of the inspection reports -- just a long history of problems. And it takes more than just problems for regulators to try to shut down an adult foster care home.
Jim Gale, the man in charge of state inspections, told Target 8 the law allows "a range of high-performing to low-performing, but not low enough for us to take action to revoke their license."
The state sought to revoke the licenses of only 50 homes in 2011. There are 4,600 adult foster cares in Michigan.
"We attempt to work with those facilities to help them come into compliance and stay in compliance," Gale said.
He said the state doesn't revoke licenses unless the operator is unable to fix problems that threaten residents' health or safety.
"Probably a large number -- maybe more than half the facilities -- had very few, if any, rule violations," Gale said.
A home that has had more than a dozen special investigations in recent years would fall into the low-performing category, he explained.
Target 8 investigators found a 2006 news release in an online database that indicates the state suspended the license of a Parsons AFC in St. Johns in Clinton County -- but the check didn't list the reason why.
State regulators no longer know anything about that suspension because state records are purged every three years. That's why when searching in the otherwise handy online state database of adult foster care homes, you might find investigation reports that no longer contain any information.
Regulators say that's enough because adult foster care homes get a complete workup -- a full license review -- every two years.
"It tells the most recent history of their performance," said Gale.
Gale said the online inspection reports are helpful to consumers, even though they don't go back more than three years. He said people should read the reports, form questions, go to facilities and check them out in person before putting a family member in an adult foster care home.
Statewide search of Adult Foster Care
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