State revokes company's license to house disabled

July 23, 2004|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

The state revoked yesterday the license of a Baltimore company operating group homes for the developmentally disabled, citing substandard care.

Diane K. Coughlin, director of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration, ordered Autumn Homes to cease operation by the end of next month.

The company operates 14 group homes serving 32 people in Howard, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. Its residents are among the most severely disabled people in Maryland, many of them profoundly retarded and unable to speak.

At issue was Autumn Homes' failure to ensure that its residents get recommended medical and dental services. The state and the company reached an agreement last fall banning admissions until Autumn Homes could make drastic reforms.

During the hearing at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offices in Baltimore, Shirley Morehead, executive director of Autumn Homes, said her company has made significant improvements. After hearing four hours of evidence, however, Coughlin said she was "dismayed and distressed."

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