Former directors plead guilty for actions that may have led to scabies-related deaths

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This person’s hand reveals a scabies infestation, especially visible in the area of the webbing between the fingers. Credit: Reed and Carnrich Pharmaceuticals.
This person’s hand reveals a scabies infestation, especially visible in the area of the webbing between the fingers. Credit: Reed and Carnrich Pharmaceuticals.

Two former directors of an Oregon memory care community have pleaded guilty to felonies related to a scabies outbreak that state officials said could have contributed to the deaths of at least three residents.

Investigators with the state Department of Human Services' Aging and People with Disabilities program found that some administrators at SouthTowne Memory Care in Eugene, OR, “falsified and destroyed documents” to cover up scabies outbreaks that began as early as 2013, according to the Register-Guard. The parasitic infection “led to or contributed to the deaths of at least three residents in fall 2016 and caused months of suffering for dozens of other residents, the investigators found,” according to the newspaper, which added that staff members and their families also became infected.

Several employees reportedly told investigators that administrators locked prescription anti-scabies medication intended for residents in an office drawer and used the creams for themselves and sometimes shared them with staff members.

The community, which one website said has the capacity for 65 residents, changed its management team in February 2017, according to the Register-Guard.

Former Executive Director David Meisner and former Director of Health Services Jandyra Dubofsky, a registered nurse, pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal mistreatment last week and last month, respectively. An identity theft charge against Meisner, for allegedly using the identity of a physician, was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Meisner was sentenced to 60 days in jail and supervised probation. Additionally, he was fined $200 and must participate in Medicare fraud investigations related to the case. Dubofsky was sentenced to supervised probation and had her nursing license suspended for a year.

SouthTowne was fined a total of $39,500.

A SouthTowne employee referred McKnight's Senior Living to parent company Ageia Health Services for comment. Philip Emerson, general counsel for Bend, OR-based Ageia Health Services, said the company had no comment. He told the Register-Guard, however, that the company took “immediate action” when it “became aware of the nature of this problem,” terminating the employment of Meisner and Dubofsky.

“Obviously, there was an issue — and I am not going to characterize it beyond that, but the point we would be interested in making is that we have returned to a situation at SouthTowne where we are back in compliance,” he said.

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