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Vermont AG Announces Consumer Fraud Settlement With Eldercare Management Company

Attorney General TJ Donovan at a podium while others look up
Emily Corwin
Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announces a settlement with WoodBine Senior Living on Monday.

The state of Vermont has announced a settlement with WoodBine Senior Living, which managed a memory care home in Essex called Spring Village from 2016 to 2018.

According to Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, Spring Village had advertised services it couldn't provide: care through all stages of dementia, including end of life.

"These promises were a lie," Donovan said at a press conference Monday. "They were misleading, they were deceptive, and that's why this is a violation of Vermont law."

The settlementwill provide $1,000 to each of 48 guardians who moved their loved ones to Spring Village while the advertising was in place. Another $10,000 will go to the Vermont chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and $62,000 is to be collected by the state.

WoodBine, which stopped operating the home in 2018, is also banned from operating long-term care facilities in Vermont. Today, the residential care home is owned by the private-equity firm Kayne Anderson, and has been rebranded as Maple Ridge Memory Care.

The enforcement was initiated by the newly established Elder Protection Initiative at the Vermont Attorney General's Office, which also released a Consumer Guide to Long-Term Care Facilities in conjunction with the settlement.

Arecent investigation into eldercare facilities by VPR and Seven Days showed just how little information Vermonters have as they make long-term care choices for their loved ones. Jamie Renner, chair of the Elder Protection Initiative, reiterated what many sources had told Seven Days and VPR as he introduced the guide Monday:

"It's incredibly confusing for any member of the public to understand the differences between a nursing home, an assisted living residence, a residential care home," Renner said. "We have each of these kinds of facilities in Vermont, and they each have entirely different regulations and restrictions."

The guide explains the varying levels of care provided at different types of homes, and includes information about complaints and inspection reports.

Emily Corwin reported investigative stories for VPR until August 2020. In 2019, Emily was part of a two-newsroom team which revealed that patterns of inadequate care at Vermont's eldercare facilities had led to indignities, injuries, and deaths. The consequent series, "Worse for Care," won a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting, and placed second for a 2019 IRE Award. Her work editing VPR's podcast JOLTED, about an averted school shooting, and reporting NHPR's podcast Supervision, about one man's transition home from prison, made her a finalist for a Livingston Award in 2019 and 2020. Emily was also a regular reporter and producer on Brave Little State, helping the podcast earn a National Edward R. Murrow Award for its work in 2020. When she's not working, she enjoys cross country skiing and biking.
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