Owner of Howland Just Like Home group homes testifies - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Owner of Howland Just Like Home group homes testifies

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

The owner of three group homes in Howland testified Thursday challenging the state's proposal to revoke the licenses for all three homes.

Eugenia Mihas defended her 20 years of caring for the elderly in Howland at the Just Like Home group homes.

She responded to allegations of filing two incident reports for cases of alleged abuse at Just Like Home II late and a lack of documentation of completed background checks and training for some staff members at all of the homes.

Regarding the state's claim that an elderly woman broke her hip and did not receive medical attention until two days later, Mihas said that she did not know about the incident until two days later either.

"Isn't there a responsibility you train them to report incidents?" asked Roger Carroll, assistant Ohio Attorney General who is representing the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

"Of course," replied Mihas.

"So in this case the training didn't work?" he continued.

"She did not let me know. She wanted to hide it in case I fired her I guess," answered Mihas.

"Did she do something wrong is that why she wanted to hide? 

"She didn't tell me," stated Mihas.

Mihas said that she did fire the worker after becoming aware of the incident. 

A relative testified Wednesday that the facility reported to her that the resident fell but the state cited it received information alleging the resident stated a staff member pushed her down. 

The facility did not send a report to the state until more than twenty days later and it is required within 24 hours.

In another case that a staff member told Mihas she suspected was abuse and neglect by a different worker resulting in a bruised knee, a report was not sent to the state until nine days later.

Mihas' attorney pointed out that the x-rays came back negative for swelling and fractures for that resident's knee. Mihas said that she called the worker in question who explained the resident had been crying, was offered Tylenol that she did not want and had a loose bowel movement that the worker tried to clean up.

The state also alleged that documentation of completed background checks and training were not available for some employees during their 2017 visits.

Mihas claimed that she did not know the database checks had to be done before hiring someone, she had a 60 day window for BCI and FBI checks to come back, and the documents were most likely there but not filed.

The state brought up the fact that Mihas rehired someone in 2015 who had disqualifying offenses of child endangering and burglary on her record.

Another employee whose BCI record showed an arrest for drug possession was not terminated by Mihas. Mihas said that the worker quit on her own and was not there very long. 

In 2017, a worker who had a disqualifying offense of falsification was working there and after being informed by the state surveyor that the employee should not be working there, Mihas said that the employee might have come back to do yard work or cleaning but not personal care.

Regarding missing first aid training certificates for some employees, Mihas said that she has to rely on other professionals to give first aid training to staff members.

"Usually they had to go somewhere. They had to pay for it. Many times I volunteered to pay for it but they would not go. I would set up classes and they would not go," explained Mihas. 

Finding reliable and dependable staff is an issue that she also acknowledged as well as a fairly high turnover rate. MIhas said that she tries to give some incentives to workers who are on time and stay on schedule.

Both attorneys will be filing closing statements in writing in two weeks and then about thirty days from that date, the hearing examiner is expected to issue her report and recommendation to the director on whether or not the licenses for these homes should be revoked.

The hearing examiner could also ask for an extension.

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