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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

What's Next For Residential Care Homes Under State Receivership?

Monica Hutt, Vermont's commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, said receivership is getting several residential care homes back on track.
Bob Kinzel
Monica Hutt, Vermont's commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, said receivership is getting several residential care homes back on track.

This week, a fourth residential care home in northwestern Vermont was placed under the control of a state-appointed administrator. Harborview in South Burlington joins three other homes placed in so-called "receivership" earlier this month. That means a court has ordered an outside attorney take control of the homes. All four residential care facilities are owned by a Texas-based private equity firm.

The move came after the state received numerous complaints from residents, family members and staff at the facilities over the past several months. The complaints included undeposited rent checks, inadequate staffing and food insecurity among residents.

In addition to Harborview, the three other homes now in receivership are: Allenwood at Pillsbury Manor, Pillsbury Manor South in South Burlington and Homestead at Pillsbury in St. Albans.

VPR News: 4 Residential Care Facilities Placed In Temporary Receivership After Complaints

So what's the situation now that these facilities are under court-ordered control? Monica Hutt, commissioner of Vermont's Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, said the receiver, attorney Doug Wolinsky, is doing great work.

VPR's Henry Epp spoke to Monica Hutt. Listen to their full conversation above.

"I feel like things are stabilizing quickly, and that everybody is feeling the positive impacts and effects of that stabilization," Hutt said. 

Hutt said one of the first steps has been to deposit residents' rent checks.

"For all of the residents, this idea that their rent wasn't being collected contributed to a real sense of unease," Hutt said. "It's hard to imagine a facility being stable when you know the dollars that are meant to be supporting it aren't being utilized."

Asked whether her department or other state agencies missed something in their oversight of the Pillsbury homes prior to receiving complaints, Hutt said no.

"We were monitoring health and safety issues very closely and working with the managers on the ground in all of those facilities to correct any deficiencies, and that's part of a very normal regulatory process," Hutt said.

Hutt adds that she believes the situation at the four facilities owned by East Lake Capital Management is an unusual situation.

"It's nothing that I've ever seen before in terms of what the challenges were, in terms of the lack of billing, which is just a very strange issue to be confronted with," Hutt said.

The receiver for the four homes is temporary. According to the Attorney General's office, arguments to make the receiver permanent will take place at a court hearing December 10th and 11th.

Henry worked for Vermont Public as a reporter from 2017 to 2023.
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