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The owner of an unlicensed adult residential care home on Oahu has been fined $828,000, the Hawaii Department of Health announced Thursday.
Island Promise Homes, located on Lumihoahu Street in Waipahu, is owned and operated by Anita Felipe, a licensed registered nurse.
The DOH said complaints about the facility led inspectors to conduct two announced investigations in December 2018 and July 2020. The inspectors confirmed that several unrelated residents were receiving care at the home, and Felipe admitted she was providing the care, according to DOH.
Felipe has 20 days to submit a written request for a hearing or else the DOH’s notice of violation and order become final and enforceable.
She could not be reached for comment, but the DOH press release said Felipe was operating three licensed adult residential care homes in Honolulu.
Records with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs show that Island Promise Homes is a business “not in good standing” that was involuntarily dissolved in December 2018. Felipe incorporated the LLC in 2014 but was delinquent in annual filings to DCCA in 2016 through 2018.
Felipe’s administrative penalty of $828,000 is based on $1,000 for each day the unlicensed facility was in operation — a total of 828 days from April 24, 2018, when the first resident was admitted, to July 29, 2020, when all of the residents were transferred out of the unlicensed facility.
There are currently no residents at the Waipahu home.
The proliferation of illegal care facilities in Hawaii neighborhoods has been a growing concern in recent years.
While the DOH’s Office of Health Care Assurance oversees more than 12,000 residents in about 1,700 long-term care facilities, it’s unclear how many unlicensed homes are in operation. Estimates have ranged from dozens on Oahu to perhaps as many as 200 statewide.
“I would have to say 10% of that industry is now illegally run,” state Rep. John Mizuno told Civil Beat in 2017. “It’s a consumer protection issue.”
Mizuno authored a bill, now law, in 2018 that authorizes the health department to investigate care facilities reported to be operating without an appropriate certificate or license issued by DOH.
DOH defines an adult residential care home as any facility that provides 24-hour living accommodations for a fee to adults unrelated to the family “who require at least minimal assistance in the activities of daily living, personal care services, protection, and health care services, but who do not need the professional health services provided in an intermediate, skilled nursing, or acute care facility.”
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