A court monitor in a class-action case involving the District’s care of the disabled has filed a report sharply critical of the group homes operated by well-connected lobbyist David Wilmot.
Monitor Elizabeth Jones, writing in her quarterly report for the Evans v. Fenty class-action case in U.S. District Court, wrote last month of a “serious concern” about the low weight of certain clients of Wilmot’s Individual Development Inc., the group homes that serve some of the District’s most developmentally disabled. Those clients are considered “to be at high-risk,” Jones writes.
Jones also writes that IDI, which operates a total of 11 group homes, has made gains in some areas, including hiring a well-regarded medical director, nurse practitioner and nutritionist, but there are still plenty of other problems.
They include (taken verbatim from the report):
- Environmental deficiencies (e.g., need for painting, broken furniture) in at least four residences.
- Poor positioning and broken or missing adaptive equipment in at least seven residences.
- Negligible interaction between staff and clients in at least one residence.
- Medication errors in two residences.
- Infection control problems in one residence.
Jones goes on to say that she and other monitors—IDI had to hire Liberty Healthcare Corporation as a monitor as part of a 2009 settlement agreement with the city—and various city agencies are “concerned whether future efforts to correct longstanding deficiencies will be sustained, especially once the period of intensive monitoring is ended.”
Liberty’s monitoring of IDI ended last month.
“Although remedial action has been taken by IDI when informed of deficient practices … the correction actions have not been sustained over time,” Jones writes.
IDI was the subject of intense scrutiny from former Attorney General Peter Nickles just before he left office. Nickles slapped IDI with a $240k fine and began the process of taking away six of IDI’s group homes for allegedly breaking the terms of the 2009 settlement. (The Wilmot/IDI saga is one of three potential political stinkbombs Nickles left behind for Mayor Vince Gray and new A.G. Irv Nathan that involved the new mayor’s friends and allies. The other two involved Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. and developer Don Peebles.) Nickles also asked a D.C. Superior Court judge to hold IDI in contempt for not paying the fines.
Not to be outdone, IDI filed a motion earlier this month saying the District is the the one breaking terms of the settlement by improperly levying fines and should be held in contempt. IDI also wants the District to cover IDI’s legal fees. IDI’s attorney wasn’t immediately available for comment, but in court papers writes that court monitor Jones “gratuitously disparages IDI by making unsupported conclusory and inaccurate statements about IDI.”
No hearing date has yet been set in the Superior Court case. The federal judge has already received the court monitor’s report in the Evans v. Fenty case.