Media coverage

KQED : Whistleblowers Call Out California Group Home for Abuse Against Disabled Residents

January 24, 2024

An article by KQED highlights the plight of Katrina Turner, a 43-year-old woman with developmental disabilities who suffered abuse and neglect at the Illinois Home, an Enhanced Behavioral Supports Home (EBSH) in California. Despite hopes for better care at EBSHs, Katrina experienced mistreatment, including mysterious injuries and medication mismanagement.

KQED Dec 12, 2023: Whistleblowers Call Out California Group Home for Abuse Against Disabled Residents

Whistleblowers like Elaine Sheffer and former Sevita Health staff member Kylie LeBlanc exposed the abusive practices, including instances of physical harm, medication mismanagement, and neglectful supervision. Despite complaints and evidence, regulators and Sevita Health management were slow to respond effectively.

The article delves into broader issues within the California developmental disability system, including inadequate oversight of EBSHs, staffing deficiencies, and concerns about chemical restraint through excessive medication. Private equity firms, which own companies like Sevita Health, prioritize profit over resident well-being, exacerbating systemic problems.

Private equity firms Centerbridge Partners and The Vistria Group own Sevita Health, and the firms operate similarly to others in the healthcare space by investing in companies to boost profitability by cutting costs. This often involves reducing spending on staffing, training, and operational expenses. Sevita Health, formerly known as The Mentor Network, rebranded in 2021, likely to distance itself from its previous negative reputation.

“It has had a host of allegations of abuse, neglect, mistreatment of people under Mentor Network’s care,” Eileen O’Grady, PESP healthcare director, told KQED. O’Grady’s 2022 report was featured in the KQED piece, as the research covers many of the allegations that have existed around Sevita Health and its operations.

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