Woman: Son stranded in hospital

Kim Oakley blames stalemate with state agency

SAN DIEGO - A woman said her autistic son is stuck in the hospital because of a stalemate with a state-contracted agency.

Kim Oakley said the San Diego Regional Center is legally obligated to provide the services agreed to through mediation.

She showed Team 10 her son Jayme's empty room and said the whole house feels empty with him in the hospital.

"When you are missing part of your family, there is a void," said Oakley.

Jayme, 24, is severely autistic and Oakley said he needs nurses to care for him at home.

"He doesn't talk, he needs to be bathed, he needs to be fed, he needs to be dressed," said Oakley.

Oakley said the facility that has agreed to send two LVNs for his care at home is not holding up their end of the deal.

Last month, Jayme had a seizure in the shower and Oakley had to call 911 because she had no nurses on hand to help her.

He's been in Palomar Hospital for a month because the doctors won't send him home without the nurses in place, Oakley said.

"Why should my son be put in that position when his mother has fought for all this nursing care for him?" said Oakley.

Oakley told Team 10 the San Diego Regional Center is supposed to provide $219,000 in services a year in LVN care for Jayme.

The center agreed to provide these services through a mediation agreement with an administrative law judge.

The Regional Center is taxpayer funded and is one of 21 facilities that contracts with the state of California to provide care for developmentally disabled people.

Under state law -- the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act -- the state is obligated to provide care for adults like Jayme.

The San Diego Regional Center's Carlos Flores told Team 10 he can't talk about specific cases but said they are morally, legally and ethically obligated to provide the services they agreed too.

"I know there have been allegations that have been made. What I can say is that for all 21,000 clients we have we do everything we can to provide appropriate services," said Flores.

Oakley believes there is a reason the center is dragging its feet.

"This money doesn't rollover. If they don't use it, it goes back into their coffers, it goes back into their system," said Oakley.

Flores said they must use the money, and last year they went over budget in providing services for clients. They spent $230 million last year on services.

"There is no incentive to delay the service; there is an entitlement by law. It's state money if it's not spent. That money is returned to the state," said Flores.

However, Flores said the money agreed to be paid for services for Jayme could go to other clients while he waits for nurses.

Oakley said her other concern is with the woman she is always referred to.

"The assistant chief case manager is a woman named Nina Garret. She is constantly approving or denying funds or services," said Oakley.

Garret is married to Flores.

"If I want to appeal her decision, I have to appeal to her husband," said Oakley.

Flores said his marriage is not technically or legally a conflict of interest.

"I'm not my wife's supervisor. There is not financial benefit to the decisions we make in our roles," said Flores. "She has a right to appeal and if she appeals, it does not go to me, it goes to the administrative hearing," said Flores.

Oakley said she just wants this information out there and wants Jayme home from the hospital.

Flores said all parties must come together to bring Jayme home.

"I would love to come to a resolution, but like I said, all parties need to come to a resolution not just the Regional Center," said Flores.

The San Diego Regional Center is overseen by the Department of Developmental Services. They provided Team 10 a statement in regards to any complaints filed against the center over the last year:

"DDS received two Whistleblower complaints involving San Diego Regional Center (SDRC). During this same period, DDS received one complaint pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 4731 (alleged violation of rights) against SDRC. DDS investigated each complaint and spoke to regional centers staff. No additional follow-up actions were warranted."

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