January 30, 2013
To customers, families, staff, donors, community members and friends of LIFEDesigns:
As many of you know this has been a very difficult few days for LIFEDesigns and our staff. A tragic incident occurred with a customer of LIFEDesigns who passed away this past Saturday. The caregiver for this customer is being charged criminally in respect to the care provided. We are writing to assure you of our commitment to providing the best care possible, to fully investigating the current situation and to remedying anything and everything that needs correction. LIFEDesigns is committed to providing the highest quality of care.
In respect to the current case, there is information that we would like to share with you at this time. As time goes on, we will keep everyone updated on the efforts and results of our investigation and steps that we are taking to ensure the best care possible for our customers.
First, it is important to know that the customer involved in this case was receiving care in a Host Family situation. This is a relatively unusual care model for LIFEDesigns and at the time of this incident we had only four customers in this type of setting out of the 376 we currently serve.
Secondly, the individual providing care in this host family situation was providing that care as an independent contractor under contract with LIFEDesigns. The individual was not an employee of LIFEDesigns. Additionally, the case manager that had been at the location three or four days prior to the customer’s death was not an employee of LIFEDesigns, but rather an Independent Case Manager, an employee of another agency who is under contract with the state of Indiana to oversee services for individuals served on Medicaid Waiver on a quarterly basis. The visit made last week by the other agency representative was one of those quarterly visits and no problems were reported to LIFEDesigns.
Currently, LIFEDesigns has hired an outside law firm, Bunger & Robertson, to do a thorough and complete investigation of the situation and processes within LIFEDesigns to determine where improvements can be made and to determine what happened in this situation. LIFEDesigns is also being extra vigilant in making additional visits and inspections of all customer situations currently in place. In addition, we have increased our ongoing protocol for visits to Host Family settings to far exceed the state standards. This added scrutiny is being undertaken immediately and will continue until LIFEDesigns has had an opportunity to review all customer settings and meet and review these settings with staff, families and customers.
Finally, LIFEDesigns had already planned to undergo a mock CARF certification survey with a certified surveyor. CARF is a national accrediting body that reviews organizations like ours and looks at policy, practice, and customer relationships. This review will take on additional significance because of the most recent incident. During the survey, LIFEDesigns is going to engage another certified CARF surveyor from out of our area to undertake a complete review of LIFEDesigns from top to bottom to make sure that all policies, procedures and actual practices are sufficient and meet and hopefully exceed standards for organizations such as LIFEDesigns. We are asking that this review be thorough, complete and brutally honest so that we can make sure that no stone remains unturned. We will cooperate fully with this surveyor and take all necessary steps to adopt any recommendations. LIFEDesigns will also undergo a significant and weeklong survey from the CARF national organization for their official survey in September of this year.
Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. Please be assured that LIFEDesigns takes this incident with the utmost seriousness and will deal with the current situation appropriately and importantly to make sure that moving forward LIFEDesigns provides the very best care.
Chief Executive Officer