A judge has ruled that violations at a local senior living facility did not pose imminent danger to residents.
In her ruling, Judge Stephanie Howells of the Office of State Administrative Hearings placedsanctions onTara Plantation in Cummingthat could be lifted in two years if an annual survey finds no violations.
The sanctions include a fine and restrictions on obtaining waivers to care for more residents than currently permitted.
In her decision, which followed a hearing in June, Howells found that the Georgia Department of Community Health, which brought the case against the facility, “failed to show that the residents of Tara Plantation were in imminent danger.”
According to Howell’s ruling, “The fact that the department did not employ any extraordinary sanctions indicatesthat the department's concern for the residents' safety could not have been that great.
“Further, although there were falsified documents, the department failed to prove that the licensee knowingly falsified the documents. Finally, Tara Plantation has put procedures in place to guard against future violations.”
Assisted Living Concepts, which owns the facility, released a statement saying the company is pleased with the decision.
“This ruling supports the high quality of care Tara Plantation provides to its many residents in Cumming,” the statement reads. “We are excited to continue providing a valuable service in this community and remain steadfastly committed to preserving the trust placed in our hands.”
In her ruling, Howells barred the facility from having more than 45 residents. It was previously allowed to provide care for up to 64 residents, however company representatives say there are currently 26.
Among complaints from the community health department were personnel and staffing issues and safety standards.
The violations included an employee falsifying documents related to fire drills to report faster response times to preserve his job.
Howells’ said while documents were falsified, the community health department “failed to prove that the licensee knowingly falsified the documents.”
Also, she said, the plantation “has put procedures in place to guard against future violations, and as of May 22, 2012, the facility had no outstanding deficiencies.”