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Man Needed Surgery After Scuffle With Oakwood Staff; Court Convicts Former Worker Of Abuse

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

SOMERSET, KENTUCKY--The state Attorney General's office announced Tuesday that a former staff member at Communities at Oakwood, Kentucky's largest institution housing people with developmental disabilities, has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for striking a resident in the face and body with his fist.

Gary Mounce, 45, pleaded guilty to the charge of patient abuse related to the August 30, 2004 incident. As part of his sentence, Mounce must pay for the costs of his own incarceration and agree to never again perform direct patient care.

Mounce is one of 15 Oakwood employees who have been arrested in the past two years for criminal neglect or abuse of residents.

In a related story, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees Oakwood, announced Wednesday that the facility had received its 23rd Type A citation -- the most serious kind -- in 21 months. The facility was cited this time for a July 4 struggle between two staff members and a male resident. That scuffle reportedly caused an injury requiring the surgical removal of the man's testicle.

The two staffers were fired in August, a spokesperson said.

According to news reports, the citation found that a plan had been written with instructions for the staff on how to help the resident control his outbursts. The staffers, however, said they were not aware of the plan and had not been trained on how to deal with such behaviors.

Liberty Healthcare, which currently operates Oakwood, was also cited because it failed allowed the employees to continue working with the man while the case was being investigated.

Liberty's operations with Oakwood are scheduled to end on October 31. A regional mental health agency has agreed to manage the institution, which houses about 250 people, beginning November 1.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has threatened to pull about $43 million in funding from Oakwood unless it can prove that the residents are safe.

Oakwood gets another citation (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Communities at Oakwood (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.