Legislators, advocates express concern about complaints at Charlotte Hall
State lawmakers and advocates said they are concerned about reports of neglect and abuse of residents in a nursing home for military veterans, a disclosure that led the state to end its relationship with the company that has managed the facility since 2002.
HMR Maryland — owned by Anderson, South Carolina-based HMR Veterans Services — was fired last month after Gov. Wes Moore (D) was alerted to concerns about treatment of veterans at the St. Mary’s County nursing home. Legislative veterans caucus members met a day after Moore spoke about the matter.
“We obviously are gravely concerned and will be seeking answers and strategies to right this matter in order to provide proper transparent care to our veterans,” said Sen. Michael Jackson (D-Prince George’s).
Jackson is Senate chair of the group that boasts more than three dozen members from the House and Senate.
The group met Thursday, in part, to discuss reports of neglect and abuse at the St. Mary’s County facility.
Moore, a combat veteran, Wednesday said the state canceled a contract with South Carolina-based HMR to operate the nursing home that cares for 267 honorably discharged veterans and spouses. The state is also seeking an emergency contract to send a team of nurses into the facility to assess the health and well-being of the residents.
State officials said they hope to award a new contract later this spring and transition HMR out of Charlotte Hall in June.
St. Mary’s County Health Officer Dr. Meena Brewster, in an email, said her department is helping search for nurses to assist with temporary staffing to complement the health and wellness assessments. Additionally, the department continues oversight of food safety at the facility.
AARP Maryland called for prompt investigation of any abuse or neglect complaints in any nursing home in the state. When warranted, the group said the state should also prosecute.
“Our most vulnerable residents deserve to be treated with dignity and respect at every stage of life,” the group said in a statement.
AARP Maryland State President Jim Campbell and State Director Hank Greenberg said tough regulatory oversight may be needed.
“In Maryland, assisted living regulations have not been updated in nearly two decades,” the pair said in the statement. “And the state can only collect data on facilities with more than 10 beds. Moreover, in Maryland regulators are not permitted to inspect any facility without the prior approval of the owner. We must do better by our fellow citizens.”