State launches investigation after undercover ABC15 investigation into assisted living center

State officials have launched an investigation into an assisted care center for disabled and vulnerable adults after ABC15 exposed troubling conditions at the facility.

The Department of Health Services and Adult Protective Services (APS) both confirmed that they are looking into The Lodge at 14th Street, a directed care home for residents with mental illness, physical disabilities, or both. Almost all of the residents are taxpayer funded through Medicaid.

The ABC15 Investigators went undercover at The Lodge and shot or obtained videos and pictures to document the conditions. On Sunday, we aired footage that showed filthy rooms, residents in tattered and dirty clothing, blood- and bug-stained mattresses without sheets or blankets, and evidence of past and current bed bug problems.

Health department inspectors visited The Lodge on Tuesday.

In a statement, APS said they are “aware of the situation and will visit the home” and will work with the health department to “address quality of care issues.”

The state expects to release more information about the investigation in coming weeks.

Families ‘shocked’ at conditions

Jenny and Chris Payne contacted ABC15 after watching Sunday’s story. Their brother Mike has lived at the lodge for several years.

“We were shocked,” Jenny Payne said. “We sat there with our mouths open … It was just very shocking to see our family member living and sleeping in those conditions.”

Payne cried while speaking about what ABC15 uncovered. Her brother has mental illness and needs help taking care of himself and taking his various medications.

It’s something they’ve raised questions about in the past.

“There was a whole list of medications he was supposed to be taking and he wasn’t,” she said. “When we would ask questions, we would get, ‘We’ll look into it.’”

History of Issues

State inspection records show The Lodge has had problems in the past.

In 2007, inspectors cited 51 deficiencies in 15 different areas. As a result, the facility’s manager, Steven Martin, was disciplined and placed on probation .

Martin’s “actions, or lack thereof, fell below the Standard of Care for Managers and could have caused harm to the residents and the public,” according to a decision by The Arizona State Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers.

The Lodge’s current owner, Austin Coggins, said he still employs Martin.

In the past two years, the state found the facility had issues with medication administration and bed bugs. But no further action was taken.

Search state inspection history and complaints for The Lodge and other assisted living facilities .

The Lodge Making Changes

After ABC15’s story, residents and family members said The Lodge has started fixing up its facility. The owner has sprayed for bugs and bought new mattresses for residents.

On Monday morning, Chris and Jenny Payne said they went to visit their brother and were surprised at the work being done.

The Paynes said there was extra staff on hand and noticed all of the residents were freshly showered and had on clean clothes.

 They also saw crews painting and cleaning

For the first time in a long time, the Payne’s said their brother had received a haircut and was wearing his own clothes. Not a small set of clothes that ABC15 discovered were shared by many of the less fortunate residents.

“I was really thankful for your story,” Jenny Payne said.

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