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Second state agency monitoring eviction of elderly patients

The operator of Rudy’s Agape House assisted living facility gave her clients 36 hours’ notice to get out. Court records show an eviction notice was filed in early February. People moving bags from the building refused to speak.
The operator of Rudy’s Agape House assisted living facility gave her clients 36 hours’ notice to get out. Court records show an eviction notice was filed in early February. People moving bags from the building refused to speak. ttompkins@bradenton.com

The owner and operator of Rudy’s Agape House has fallen under more regulatory scrutiny after she tossed out several elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s last week with just 36 hours notice.

The Florida Department of Children and Family Services confirmed on Friday it had opened an adult protection services investigation of owner Nancy Cushman. And now the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which inspects assisted living facilities, is also watching the situation closely.

“The agency is aware of the situation with Rudy’s Agape House and has been monitoring,” said Shelisha Coleman, AHCA press secretary.

Cushman gave family members just 36 hours notice to move their loved ones and their belongings out of Rudy’s, located at 5426 18th St. W.. despite undergoing an eviction process that had started in early February. Cushman had stopped paying rent to her landlord going back to late 2016.

The eviction notice was only for Cushman, who resided on the property as administrator of Rudy’s. The landlord had made arrangements for a new certified administrator to take over the operations so as to not disrupt the patients. But family members said Cushman never told them that, either.

It wasn’t just the 16 permanent residents at Rudy’s and their families who saw their lives get caught in a whirlwind of trying to find a new facility. Cushman also ran a “daycare” for the elderly and those, too, have had their lives interrupted.

Ann Marie Lembo said her mother attended the daycare, “and now has no place to go.”

Lembo said it is difficult to find daycare operators in the Manatee County area who watch Alzheimer’s patients for family members during business hours. Lembo said Rudy’s was not in a position to do so with limited staffing, but her options were limited.

Staffing was an issue at Rudy’s. Cushman’s AHCA licensing was for “limited nursing services,” according to the AHCA website despite the majority of residents suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Cushman has been licensed to operate Rudy’s since 2011 and since then has been cited for 10 deficiencies ranging from not having properly trained staff on hand to mishandling prescription medications.

According to AHCA inspection reports, Cushman was fined $1,935 for just one of these violations. Prior to operating Rudy’s, Cushman was fined $500 in 2008 and $1,500 in 2007.

The residents of Rudy’s were told to be out of the facility by the morning of March 10, although Cushman took their monthly rent payments on March 1 knowing she was in the process of being evicted. Cushman is required to “provide a refund to the residents or responsible parties within 45 days after transfer, discharge or death of a resident,” AHCA regulations state.

Cushman, who would not speak to the Bradenton Herald on Friday, could not be reached for comment on Monday. According to the AHCA website, her license is still active.

Family members of those told to leave say she is attempting to open a smaller facility close by. Her license status will depend on the outcome of AHCA’s and DCF’s investigations.

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