ATLANTA — State officials rarely issue heavy fines or shut down personal care homes, despite poor conditions in some facilities such as one in which live cockroaches were found in the kitchen, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Deficiencies in care have piled up in many such homes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found.
Georgia’s 2,000 licensed personal care homes provide care for some of the state’s most fragile residents — those who are disabled, elderly or mentally ill.
Some homes have had more than 100 violations in five years, the newspaper’s analysis of records revealed.
A home in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, for instance, had 166 violations over five years. Inspectors found that a manager had a criminal record. Inspectors found dirty floors, bathtubs and walls, soiled toilets and live cockroaches in the kitchen. Yet, the facility received one fine of $601 and remains in business.
Another home in Cumming had 134 violations over five years. Surprise inspections found that eight residents were out of medication.
Two others had urinary tract infections because their undergarments had not been changed often enough.
The home remains open.
Brian Looby, head of the state Department of Community Health office that regulates personal care homes, says the agency is working hard to shore up enforcement.
The department, he said, is trying to revoke more licenses, assess more fines and review the training requirements for personal care home workers.
A lack of enforcement creates a culture in which unscrupulous operators believe they can game the system, according to advocates for people living in the homes.