OK Mother Demanding Tighter Controls For Residential Care Facilities
VINITA, Oklahoma - A mother is demanding tighter controls for residential care facilities.
Her son was a client at Branding Brook near Vinita and wants to know how it operated so long without a license.
Pam Fisher's son, Josh, was shot in the head four years ago, which left him permanently blind and with a brain injury. He requires a lot of medication and can become combative so he has to be in a facility.
She's had him in places in Tulsa, Texas, Louisiana and recently, Branding Brook, which she said was awful.
"It was filthy. There was food all over the countertops, it was disgusting," she said. "It reeked; it smelled so bad."
Fisher said on her second visit to Branding Brook, she knew she was going to have to move her son, yet again.
She said the fridge and cabinets were locked, and beds lined the dining room and living room. Fisher said someone stole two weeks of Josh's anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications.
"Even at the least amount they charge, $700, with 20 people, that's over $14,000 a month this woman's making off these people and letting them live in these conditions," Fisher said.
The state ordered Robyn McKinney to shut down last fall after learning she was running an unlicensed facility, but, she was still running it when deputies arrested McKinney for assaulting a client; she was then charged with 17 counts of caretaker abuse.
As of last week, all the clients were relocated.
Fisher said these places are all over, and she wants the state to do a better job of monitoring them.
"These people that have that authority need to think, ‘What if that was my child,’" she said.
Josh is now in a facility in Afton. Pam said it's clean, well-staffed and structured, but she won't stop fighting to get lawmakers to do something about the facilities that care more about money than people.