Jeri Ringseth had no business being in an adult family home.
Her physical and mental disabilities are so significant that she's spent most of her adult life in nursing homes or state hospitals. She has diabetes so severe that over the years, surgeons have had to amputate both legs. Without constant care, she often ends up in an emergency room.
Even so, when the state asked Ringseth if she wanted to live in an adult family home — a real home with a bedroom and television — she enthusiastically said yes.
And a home enthusiastically took her, in exchange for state Medicaid payments.
That home didn't work out. Neither did the next, which dispatched her to an emergency room — then refused to take her back.
Ringseth is just one of thousands of Medicaid recipients who have been steered by the state from expensive nursing homes into adult family homes, which cost the state one-third as much.
These homes are a growing, little-regulated housing option for the state's aged — as well as for the poor and frail, such as Ringseth, who cannot care for themselves alone.
But in hundreds of cases, a Seattle Times investigation has found, medically fragile adults such as Ringseth are handed over to amateur caregivers who are inadequately trained to keep them safe.
Adult family homes originally were authorized as less-expensive way stations for the aged who do not require the full services of a skilled nursing home. Increasingly, however, the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) relies on adult homes as places for people who suffer from severe illness or disability, a Times analysis of state records shows.
The state's goal is to save money. Since the 1990s, state caseworkers have been told to meet monthly quotas that dictate how many nursing-home residents must be moved out into the community and adult homes.
Full Article, Videos, and Source:
Fragile, Pushed Out and Paying a Price: State Saves Millions by Relocating Poorest Patients
State-Required Training For Prospective Owners Has Serious Flaws
An Adult Family Home That Works: Stable Staff, Activities