Oakwood Resident Sues Former Management Company, Claiming Abuse

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A former management company for the
state's largest center for mentally retarded adults has been sued
by a resident who claims he was repeatedly beaten by staff members.
Tim Cox, through his guardian Daniel Dermitt, filed the lawsuit
against Liberty HealthCare Corp., in U.S. District Court last week.
Cox, who has profound mental retardation, claimed he was subject to
"vicious beatings and unreasonable restraints" over the course of
a year while at the Communities at Oakwood in Somerset.
Cox, 29, also alleges he suffered a broken nose at the hands of
the staff during a fishing trip and was beaten while being
restrained with a towel on other occasions.
Liberty HealthCare was operating a portion of the center at the
time of the incidents. The suit claims Liberty and its officers
knew about the abuse against Cox and did nothing about it. Cox is
seeking undisclosed damages.
Liberty HealthCare, based in Pennsylvania, ran portions of the
Communities at Oakwood for about a year, but was replaced by
Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board last
November.
The Communities at Oakwood has battled problems for much of the
last three years, receiving two dozen Type A citations from state
regulators for serious policy violations during an 18-month period
from January 2005 to the summer of 2006.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided
to yank funding in 2005 after finding that the conditions at the
center, located about 75 miles south of Lexington, posed an
"immediate jeopardy" to the health and safety of patients.
However, the agency continued to fund Oakwood while the Cabinet
for Health and Family Services, which oversees the center, appealed
the decision and tried to make improvements.
The center has been cited for just one Type A citation since
Bluegrass took over last year.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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