Jul 21, 2014
A 10-year-old boy with severe disabilities was killed by neglect in an Anne Arundel County group home. The home halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. is run by LifeLine, a private company.
This child and others with similar disabilities were sent to LifeLine because the State of Maryland no longer provides services for the severely handicapped.
LifeLine was paid $11,000 per child per month by the State of Maryland. Although it sounds like a lot of money, it isn’t. Caregivers must be paid round-the-clock. If every penny of the $11,000 were spent on their salaries, the caregivers would not even make $12 per hour. But every penny was not paid. LifeLine ran the home to make money for itself.
What the $11,000 did NOT buy was quality care. A nurse working at the facility said the care plan called for one-on-one service but she and others often each had three severely handicapped children to look after. The youngster who died had a tube in his throat that had to be cleaned regularly. The news reported that he died when the tube was not cleaned quickly enough.
But it is not only the company that is to blame. LifeLine was investigated by state regulators in 2012 and forbidden from gaining contracts to care for disabled adults. Yet Maryland officials allowed the company to care for disabled children!
Now that the tragedy occurred, two state senators want to investigate. Where were these senators and the rest of the Maryland politicians when the state of Maryland stopped handling the cases of disabled adults and children and closed state facilities? Where was the outcry about lower standards of care over the past 20 years? Who bothered to notice all the other Maryland people in need of state care, like the homeless, many of whom came from the closing of state facilities? Where was outcry over poverty level wages for the caregivers?
There are many people with bloody hands in the case of this child’s death.