State regulators have suspended the license of a Lansdowne assisted-living home where inspectors earlier this month determined 16 residents were living in a facility with permission to operate just four beds.
The "emergency suspension" came March 10, a day after authorities received a complaint claiming that a resident was found tied to a chair and investigators from the state's Office of Health Care Quality discovered 14 residents locked in two rooms "with no food, water or staff supervision," according to the suspension letter sent to Diane Griffin, the owner of Griffin's Loving Care, at 204 Clyde Avenue.
Investigators later determined two other residents, who were not at the home at the time of the unannounced inspection, had been living in the two-story home on a corner lot, for a total of 16 occupants. All were moved to other homes, according to state officials and Baltimore County Police, who assisted in the March 9 inspection.
On Monday, a large sign, "Griffin's Loving Care - Quality Care Is Our Top Priority," and another announcing visiting hours, had been removed from the building and a woman who was leaving the home declined comment and would not give her name.
A man who identified himself as someone who was cleaning the house said the building is no longer an assisted-living center.
Multiple attempts to reach Griffin, who is listed in state documents as the facility's contact and named in a county police report on the March 9 inspection as Dione Griffin, were unsuccessful. The spelling of Griffin's first name differs in the state and police reports.
The Office of Health Care Quality, under the umbrella of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, licenses 1,569 assisted-living facilities.
The office did a pre-licensure survey at the home July 30, 2014.
Between the initial survey and October 2016, state inspectors visited eight times, according to state records. Seven of the visits were prompted by complaints, according to the reports.
In all the inspections before March 9, the building was at or under the four-person licensed capacity, however several other deficiencies existed, according to state reports.
Among the deficiencies observed by inspectors and detailed in the public reports were failing to follow regulations on storage and administration of medicines, not having enough food or snacks on several occasions — including Christmas Eve in 2015 — and not having current paperwork on patient treatment plans and staff qualifications and training.
One report said a bathroom didn't have soap for hand washing or alcohol-based hand sanitizers during an inspection.
Griffin, who has 30 days to appeal the license suspension, had the opportunity to reply to the inspection reports and detail a "plan of correction." It was not clear whether she had responded to all of the allegations, as state officials are in the process of redacting portions of the reports to protect patient confidentiality, said Brittany Fowler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Baltimore County Police, who accompanied state inspectors to the home on March 9, said in a report on that visit that the facility was clean and well-maintained.
The building's owners, who gave a Bowie address in state property tax records, could not be reached.
Baltimore County police and the county prosecutor's office are continuing an investigation, looking into whether there was abuse or neglect, or fraud, a police spokeswoman said.
Robyn Grant, director of public policy and advocacy for The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group for long-term care patients, said a facility licensed for four residents is supposed to be equipped to provide the services to care for four people.
"You think about four times that [number of residents], and it really raises concerns about whether they were meeting the needs of those residents," said Grant, who was told of the Griffin's case by a reporter.
The abrupt closing of a facility can provide hardships on residents and their families, she said. For the residents, an unexpected move can lead to physical or psychological consequences after they leave a familiar setting and can be disorienting for people with dementia, she said.