Kenwood Press

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News: 08/15/2014

SDC appeals loss of federal funding

Administration cites substantial changes

Karen Faria, executive director of the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC), has challenged the pending loss of certification to receive federal funds for seven of the center’s Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF), a loss of nearly $2.5 million a month.

The SDC was notified on July 25 that an inspection team from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) had found that it had not complied with a “Performance Improvement Plan” that was put together after an earlier inspection resulted in loss of federal funding for four other ICFs in early 2013.

The latest inspection resulted in a 207-page report excoriating the SDC for what some consider to be minor problems, and a recommendation to cut off the federal funding.

The July 25 termination letter from Public Health cited problems with the SDC’s governing body and management, client protection, active treatment services, and health care services. That letter said SDC “still does not meet the requirements for participation as an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Medi-Cal program.”

According to Faria’s Aug. 8 appeal letter to John Dexter, chief of the CDPH Licensing and Certification Unit in Sacramento, “The management of Sonoma has been focused on continuing improvements in all aspects of care and services to the men and women residing at Sonoma including an emphasis on medical, behavioral and training services.”

Faria cited reasons for the appeal as: increased community access for residents, hiring 321 additional staff for clinical and administrative operations, an extensive re-training program, beefed up policy development in implementation, restructuring of their “Executive Committee and Governing Body oversight and monitoring process,” and instituting a Whole Person Review process to ensure ongoing “monitoring, oversight and accountability” for resident rights, access and treatment programs.

No date has been set for the appeals hearing, and the federal funding will continue until the matter is settled.

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