WARREN - SCOPE Inc. of Trumbull County is planning to appeal the revocation of its certification as a long-term care agency, a decision by the state that has a larger effect on the agency than just not being allowed to provide in-home care to the elderly, its director says.
Ralph Smith says not having that certification prevents the agency from accessing any state or federal programs for money. That's money, Smith said, that could be used to supplement other programs the agency offers, like helping seniors get prescription drugs.
The ruling won't affect the operation of SCOPE's six senior centers, which are funded with county Senior Levy and other dollars.
''We will continue to operate and we will continue with our appeal with the court,'' Smith said Tuesday.
The agency has 15 days to file the challenge in common pleas court. The clock began on Friday, when Ohio Department of Aging director Bonnie Kantor-Burman issued her ruling, ordering that SCOPE's certification be revoked.
Her determination released Tuesday also says that SCOPE is prohibited from reapplying for certification.
The ruling means SCOPE may no longer provide services under the Medicaid-funded PASSPORT program, a program for in-home care services like homemaker and personal care. However, the agency was already without Medicaid funding, cut off when the Area Agency on Aging 11, which does oversight, removed all of SCOPE's clients in the PASSPORT program.
Smith, brought in to run SCOPE in April, after ODA made its claims against the agency, said he's disappointed by the severity of the ruling. No seniors were harmed, money was not found missing and none of the ''ultimate decision makers responsible for the violations'' is still employed at SCOPE, Smith said.
''Nor were the 50 years of services SCOPE has rendered in the community apparently considered,'' Smith said.
Several people sent letters of support to the state, but were not part of Kantor-Burman's review.
The discipline is the result of SCOPE failing to meet a number of state requirements for criminal background checks and employee credentials, including not doing required criminal background checks on 16 employees hired in direct-care positions and did not in a timely manner have the checks done for 25 other employees.
In addition, SCOPE was not maintaining an adequate criminal background check log; it hired a man as a chore / homemaker worker in August 2008 who should not have been hired because of a disqualifying offense; and for another worker, SCOPE did not take into account a disqualifying offense when she was hired as a health aide / homemaker worker in July 2010.
SCOPE admitted to the allegations during a June 26 hearing in Columbus.
One allegation SCOPE did not contest, but a hearing officer found as fact, dealt with allowing an employee who was not a licensed registered or practical nurse to give supervising services as a home care nurse.