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Sonoma Developmental Center Faces Sanctions Amid Abuse Claims

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Sonoma Developmental Center. (CBS)

Sonoma Developmental Center. (CBS)

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SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — The California Department of Public Health said Wednesday it is taking enforcement action against the Sonoma Developmental Center where there were allegations of physical abuse of 12 patients last year.

The CDPH said it is moving to revoke the license of the Sonoma Developmental Center’s Intermediate Care Facility that services 290 residents with intellectual disabilities, and decertifying it from participation in the federal Medicaid program.

The population of the Sonoma Developmental Center was 520 in September.

Two surveys at the hospital disclosed several deficient conditions that included client to client abuse, physical abuse of a client by a staff member, a staff member exposing himself and failure to monitor a client who ingested a non-food item, CDPH officials said.

None of them were related to the alleged Tasing and physical abuse of patients by a healthcare provider at the center last year, CDPH officials said.

“The actions we are taking today are necessary to make sure that the Sonoma Developmental Center improves the quality of care that it is providing to its residents in the Intermediate Care Facility,” said state Public Health Officer and CDPH’s director, Dr. Ron Chapman.

The Sonoma Developmental Center has been under review by the California Department of Public Health due to non-compliance and incidents that have resulted in harm to patients, the CDPH said in a news release.

The Sonoma Developmental Center may appeal the CDPH’s actions and can, under CDPH oversight, continue operations during the appeal, the CDPH said. The appeal must be filed by Jan. 4.

Terri Delgadillo, director of the state Department of Developmental Services, said, “We have removed the Executive Director and the Clinical Director (of the Sonoma Developmental Center) and taken disciplinary action against several employees, including job terminations.”

“We will work with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDPH to ensure the Sonoma developmental Center’s care meets state and federal standards,” Delgadillo said.

“We are contacting our residents’ families to assure them of our continued commitment to making improvements. We are moving quickly to fix this center and protect our residents,” Delgadillo said.

Delgadillo said the Department of Developmental Services will file an appeal of the CDPH’s action and develop a performance improvement plan to keep the Sonoma Developmental Center in operation.

Pam Dickfoss, assistant deputy director of the Center for Health Care Quality in the California Department of Public Health, said the department’s nurses will be closely monitoring conditions at the Sonoma Developmental Center.

“We feel this will be turned around and they will be brought back to compliance,” Dickfoss said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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