NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The latest in a three year pattern of public health violations, administration at Hannah Gray Homes has confirmed that they have taken steps to remove bed bugs from the New Haven Facility. The bugs were found in three rooms in the 20-bed Dixwell Avenue residential care home.
The home is named after a New Haven abolitionist who willed her home to be used for care of African American women at the time of her death in 1861. Since then, the house has moved, closed and reopened. The latest iteration, run by Hannah Gray Home, Incorporated, opened in 2011. Every year since then, the facility has been cited for Department of Public Health violations.
“We’ve had issues that are start-up issues for any setting like this and somehow it turns into news,” said Executive Director Robert Page.
Violations range from leaving a cart of controlled substance medications unlocked, to staff pouring a pitcher of water on a patient. All of the issues have been resolved, claimed Page, who has been with the facility since March 2014.
Two employees came to News 8 with allegations of further violations. They provided video to the News 8 Investigators that purports to show a bedbug crawling on a patient at Hannah Gray Homes.
“I seen [sic] bugs actually crawling on a resident,” said one employee, who we agreed not to identify. “Crawling through [the patients] laundry.”
Page confirmed the bugs, but said they called in specialists to clean up the issue. The cleanup took longer, because an unidentified company did not do the cleanup they were paid to do, said Page.
Despite all of that, a family member of a patient, contacted by staff at Hannah Gray contacted New Haven Attorney Robert Gould.
“There are a lot of red flags,” said Gould. “It’s not just one bite. I mean, these bites were bad enough that staff members were calling his family anonymously and telling them, ‘Come pick up your father, he’s getting eaten alive.’ That has happened twice.”
Staff members confirm they contacted the family, because, in their words, the administration was unresponsive to complaints.
“We have reached out to them several times about things at Hannah Gray and no one ever responds to the things that we are trying to report as mandated reporters at a health facility,” said the unnamed employee.
Page called employees who complain “malcontents.” He estimated since he joined Hannah Gray, some 15 employees have been fired or left the organization.
“I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying people love working at Hannah Gray,” said Page. “The people that don’t work at Hannah Gray anymore don’t love it here and you feel badly about it, but you try.”
According to the non-profits 990 reports, which detail their finances, the organization was $480,337 in debt in 2012. That is on top of $2.4 million given to Hannah Gray through a Certificate of Need.
In March, Governor Malloy announced $9 million in grants for seven nursing homes around the state.
Page says the aging population in Connecticut means costs for facilities like Hannah Gray continue to increase, while they are forced to rely more and more on public aide. He calls the aging population the “Silver Tsunami.”
According to state records, there are 218 Connecticut nursing homes that accept Medicaid, that serve nearly 17,000 patients. The number of nursing homes across the state has dropped over the last decade from 247 around 2004.
In their place, home care alternatives are a growing option.