Editor's Note: This is one in an ongoing series of articles investigating patient care and allegations of abuse at Baycrest Memory Care in Coos Bay. Check back with The World for future articles about the investigation.
COOS BAY — The abuse first discovered at Baycrest Memory Care in 2015, inspired new state legislation, but even that couldn’t change what was happening at the facility.
Baycrest Memory Care announced its closure last month, citing March 1 as the day the doors will shut.
Since then, state representative Caddy McKeown issued a press release noting her disappointment and outrage.
“Despite multiple attempts from the state to bring Baycrest Memory Care into compliance, the current management company has failed to successfully respond to these efforts and, as a result, will now close,” McKeown wrote.
“I am heartbroken and frustrated at the poor conditions these seniors have experienced,” she continued. “In a small town like Coos Bay many of these residents face extremely limited options for relocation, in addition to the stress caused by any change in daily routine for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. However, we absolutely cannot tolerate exposing our senior citizens, particularly those with dementia, to substandard care.”
How did this happen?
The Department of Human Services found out that something wasn’t right at Baycrest during a survey in 2015, which is an inspection conducted every other year. The department’s licensing team walks through the building to check on clients and go over a variety of rules and regulations.
“There were quite a few citations given back in 2015,” said Ashley Carson Cottingham, director of the Aging and People with Disabilities program for DHS.
“Out of that we ended up putting conditions on their license which is one of the steps we can take in our progressive approach to compliance,” she told The World during a phone interview. “What that means is that we would identify the issue occurring and the condition on their license would be specific to that issue. It would restrict admission during that time so they can correct the problem without new residents moving in.”
Other conditions could include needing an RN at the facility for more hours or additional training for staff. Generally when a building meets these terms, DHS lifts the condition on their license.
Which is what happened.
“There were some struggles so we worked with them to have a new management company come in and take over full operations of the building,” Cottingham said, adding that was part of the settlement agreement DHS reached with them as a way to resolve some of the issues.
The new management company that stepped in was Seasons Management and is still currently in charge.
At first, things improved.
DHS returned for another survey, or inspection, to see how things were going. As of August 2016, Baycrest was found to be in substantial compliance, meaning that all issues had been resolved.
Just a few months later, starting in April of 2017, DHS began receiving allegations of abuse again.
“We had to place a condition on their license again,” Cottingham said. “Then they improved slightly so we amended that condition in September of 2017.”
However, abuse allegations and substantiations kept rolling in through the door at DHS. Something had to be done to fix it.
“So we had to amend the condition again in October to place a restriction of admissions on their license and require a minimum of staffing again and specific recording requirements,” Cottingham said. “Because of the yo-yo compliance, we determined the need to take the next step in our productive process and issue the notice of intent to revoke.”
Notice of Revocation
According to Cottingham, it is rare for DHS to issue a notice of revocation to a facility in the first place. It is even rarer for the facility to respond by giving up and shutting down like Baycrest is doing.
“If the revocation process went to the end of the process, yes their license would be revoked,” she explained. “It’s important to point that generally a facility would contest the notice or have many conversations with the department so we could achieve an agreement to get back into substantial compliance and we would rescind that notice. If they were back in compliance then we wouldn’t go forward with the full revocation of the license.
“It is very rare that this occurs this way.”
Right now there are close to 34 residents at Baycrest Memory Care that now have to be moved to other facilities before the March 1 closing date.
“This is not something the department wants to have occur in a community because memory care services are so critical,” Cottingham said. “The impact on the residents . . . there’s a thing called ‘transfer trauma.’ So that can be very stressful and we want to minimize that stress as much as possible.”
Since the facility has announced its decision to shut down, DHS is working with the management company and owner because “our number one priority is the safe and effective transition of residents,” Cottingham said.
DHS is also making sure to keep families well informed and help them locate new placement facilities for the residents. They are going through a checklist process to also ensure that medications, medical equipment and personal belongings all go with them.
“We’ve hired our own consultant to be in the building throughout the closure process,” she said. “The department funded the consultant in order to have another extra help to the building and ensure the safety and welfare of the residents because it’s such a difficult thing to have happen.”
There’s been 21 instances of confirmed, or substantiated, abuse cases in 2017 so far. DHS is still working to close additional investigations from last year.
“More are still being processed so that number may or may not go up,” Cottingham said. “These investigations range from neglect, some with resident on resident conflict. Some were pretty serious calls.”
“After shutting down, I don’t know if we have the authority to do anything further from the department’s standpoint,” Cottingham said. “There are a number of outstanding civil penalties we’ve assessed for some of the abuse cases, so those have not yet been paid and the department would expect that those fines are paid.”
For 2016 and part of 2017, Baycrest Memory Care still owes $44,400 in unpaid civil penalties.
In McKeown’s press release, she stated that she is grateful to the constituents who alerted her to the problem at Baycrest.
“Since then, I’ve been working with our community and other stakeholders throughout the state to improve the quality of care in Oregon’s residential facilities,” she said. “That work resulted in the passage of House Bill 3359 which improves training, staffing, oversight, and communications within long-term care facilities in an effort to avoid situations exactly like this. Implementation of this bill is just beginning but this situation reaffirms my commitment to seeing this through.
“Our seniors are some of our most vulnerable citizens and they deserve the best care we can possibly provide them. We must do better than this.”
The World filed a Freedom of Information request with DHS to obtain the case investigation files since 2014. Some have already been turned over, though more are still coming in.
COOS BAY — Over the past couple of weeks the state of Oregon has seen a wave of folks coming down with severe cases of the flu.
Recent flu outbreaks have plagued central Oregon, with the Bend Bulletin reporting that flu cases have pushed hospitals to capacity. The 349 beds in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville hospitals are occupied.
The flu is a current concern to all medical facilities on the South Coast of Oregon. Although unable to provide any flu season statistics, Bay Area Hospital has implemented a mask policy for anyone interacting with patients that hasn’t received the flu vaccination.
Coos Health and Wellness was unable to make a comment on our local flu season climate, because they are in the middle of moving into its new building.
North Bend Medical Center has seen an increase in flu related traffic. One thing that North Bend Medical Center Family Nurse Practitioner Ashley Weber noticed was that the flu this year has been so severe that secondary illnesses caused by the flu are also on the rise.
“We’re seeing a lot of secondary infections from the flu. The flu can lower the immune system and commonly cause, especially in those that are already immune compromised, can cause people to develop pneumonia, ear infections, and sinus infections. I saw an adult with an ear infection today and she previously had the flu, it’s pretty rare for adults to have ear infections,” Weber said.
Weber sees between 20 and 40 patients a day and said that around one in five of those patients is coming in either because they have the flu or because they have a secondary illness caused by the flu.
“I see a lot of pneumonia that started out as the flu… It’s really bad this year. Healthy people seem to be getting sick longer,” Weber said.
Updated Friday Jan. 12 to reflect the week of Dec. 31 to Jan.6, Oregon’s Weekly Surveillance Report for Influenza and Respiratory Viruses reported that 32.8 percent of patients tested for influenza came back positive. It was also reported that for that first week of the year 153 people were hospitalized for influenza associated reasons.
Of the 153 hospitalizations documented in the weekly surveillance report cases came from Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. The state’s most up to date figure shows that 712 cases of the flu in Oregon reported this season. Eighty-one percent of cases are reported to be flu A, with the remaining 19 percent reported as flu B.
Oregon Health and Science University spokesperson Amanda Gibbs said, “The OHSU emergency department has seen an uptick in cases of flu-like symptoms over the past few weeks. Exact case data is not yet available, though approximately 5-10 cases are evaluated daily.”
Most flu vaccines are quadrivalent, containing 4 different dead strains of the disease.
The quadrivalent vaccine covers four viruses, this season's covers a Michigan strain, a Hong Kong strain, a Brisbane strain and a Phuket strain.
Weber said that it seems this year that she’s seen a lot of people who have gotten flu shots that are still getting sick.
“They make a really good guess based on evidence when making the vaccine to stop people from getting next year’s flu…Some years the scientists guess better than others,” Weber said.
It’s still recommended by the CDC that everyone get a flu shot. Although getting the vaccine doesn’t’ guarantee you won’t get the flu, those who do get vaccinated experience more mild symptoms.
Of the many American women dismayed by the wave of sexual misconduct scandals, there's a subgroup with distinctive hopes and fears: mothers of boys.
Among them are women who have sought to raise their sons, sometimes from infancy, to shun sexist mindsets and be respectful of girls. Yet even some of these mothers worry about countervailing peer pressure their sons might face. And there's uncertainty as to whether their sons' generation, as adult men, will be less likely to perpetrate or condone sexual misconduct.
Danielle Campoamor, a New York-based writer and editor, has been wrestling with these questions even though her son, Matthias, is only 3. She says she feels extra pressure because she was sexually assaulted five years ago by a co-worker.
"I worry what kind of man I'm raising and how he'll treat women and girls in his life," said Campoamor, 30, who already takes Matthias to events where sexual misconduct is discussed.
"Does he understand? No," she said. "But it won't be a taboo topic later on. I hope he'll have the courage to stand up for what's right."
In a recent article for the website Romper, Campoamor wrote that the scandals provide a "teachable moment" for her and Matthias.
"It is my responsibility to provide him with concrete examples of what to do, and what not to do, when he witnesses, hears about, or is a victim of sexual assault," she wrote.
Neena Chaudry, education director for the National Women's Law Center, has taken her son, now 10, to pro and college women's basketball games in greater Washington since babyhood. Chaudry says he's now a devoted fan who extols the virtues of women's sports to other boys.
"It helps him see women as strong and formidable," Chaudry wrote for the law center's blog.
A Denver mom, Cynthia Boune, said she and her husband set out early in parenthood to raise their two sons to resist sexist attitudes.
"With all the sexual harassment news, we've had a lot of family discussions and thank goodness our parenting style was validated," Boune wrote by email. "My boys were disgusted by the attitudes of predatory men."
She recalled an incident when her oldest son, now 18, was a high school freshman, and walked away when some soccer teammates laughed about a cellphone video showing a drunken girl kissing numerous boys.
"I hope now that he is older he feels secure enough to not just walk away, but to call them out on it," Boune wrote. "This is where the real work is."
Long before the latest scandals, programs emerged aimed at reducing boy-girl gender friction and curtailing sexual harassment.
Among them is Coaching Boys Into Men, developed by the nonprofit Futures Without Violence. Thousands of high school and middle school coaches have been trained to convey to their players the importance of treating young women with respect and avoiding abusive behavior.
Brian O'Connor, who runs the program, says the recent scandals have boosted interest among parents who'd like it implemented at their sons' schools.
A Seattle couple, Esther Warkov and Joel Levin, are among a growing number of activists who believe the fight against sexual harassment should start in elementary school, with boys getting an early message that girls should be treated respectfully.
"Some people seem to think sexual assault starts in college — but it took them (the perpetrators) 12 years to practice," said Warkov.
She and Levin founded Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, which creates anti-sexual harassment curriculum, after their daughter allegedly was raped by a fellow student during an overnight high school field trip in 2012.
California, a pacesetter in sex education, implemented a law in 2016 that included sexual harassment as a topic public school districts must address, starting in 7th grade. Women's rights activists welcome the requirement.
"Teaching boys how they can be part of the solution is tremendously important, and it has to start in lower grades," said Noreen Farrell of San Francisco-based Equal Rights Advocates.
However, legislators and school officials in many states are wary of broaching such issues in curriculum.
"You need a lot of political will to do it," said Debra Hauser of Advocates for Youth, which contends that adolescents need "accurate and complete" sexual health information.
Hauser, who has a son and daughter in their 20s, says there's a contentious argument nationwide over which traditional male behaviors are potentially harmful and which are worth preserving.
As for boys who harass and bully, "they aren't born that way," Hauser said. "They're reflecting the culture, the image of what a male should be."
COOS BAY — A report by an anti-fossil fuels advocacy group about a proposed natural gas facility and export terminal in Coos Bay project's in-state greenhouse emissions would be comparable to Portland General Electric's coal-fired plant in Boardman, and its total lifecycle emissions 15 times worse.
According to the report by Oil Change International, the emissions estimate of Jordan Cove includes an estimated range of methane leakage along the 229-mile supply chain from Malin in Klamath County to Coos County finds that even a conservative estimate undermines claims that gas supplied to global markets via the project would lead to a net reduction of GHG emissions.
Jordan Cove Project spokesperson Michael Hinrichs refuted the group's report.
"Upon first glance, this OCI report looks exactly like the previously paid-for report to support the opposition’s conclusions. It appears to use an inaccurate comparison that supports a pre-determined stance," said Hinrichs.
"There is another side of the story, the project has filed with FERC hundreds of pages of scientific reports by third parties and the work done by the Project has resulted in Jordan Cove receiving approval for our air permit by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
"The project is putting Oregon on the path to supplying a cleaner energy future for our customers. Natural gas is cleaner burning, has fewer pollutants, is less expensive and more efficient than other fuels that are capable of meeting around the clock energy demand.
"The project has direct benefits to the State of Oregon including thousands of construction jobs, hundreds of good paying permanent jobs, and the significant tax benefits to the four counties and to the State of Oregon," he said.
The 229-mile Pacific Connector Pipeline would have the capacity to push 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas across Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties to a plant in Coos Bay where the gas would be turned into liquid form and be transported to Asian markets. The pipeline would connect to existing pipelines to transport natural gas from Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and the Montney Basin in British Columbia.
Oil Change International's study estimates Jordan Cove's in-state greenhouse gas emissions at 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year, including 1.8 million tons from the terminal and another 400,000 tons from its feeder pipeline and a compressor station.
The study's estimate for terminal emissions, which assumed it operated at 85 percent of capacity, is a bit less than the maximum emissions level the company has projected in its applications with federal and state regulators. And that would put it at or near the top of the list of stationary emissions sources in Oregon tracked by the Department of Environmental Quality, particularly as PGE's Boardman coal plant, the state's largest source of emissions, is slated to close in 2020, according to a Jan. 11 article published in The Oregonian.
The Oil Change study also estimated the project's "lifecycle" emissions, including upstream methane leakage rates in gas production, processing and transportation, as well as emissions from tanker transportation to Asia, local distribution and combustion in China. It said those total emissions would be 36.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, more than half of it from burning the gas in Asia. That's about 15 times the Boardman plant's emissions, or the equivalent of 7.9 million passenger vehicles.