Baton Rouge --- G.B. Cooley, a Monroe-based company that operates a variety of services for individuals with developmental disabilities, has voluntarily withdrawn as a provider from the Medicaid Supervised Independent Living Program.


G.B. Cooley representatives sent the Department of Health a letter June 23 informing them of this decision. The company’s withdrawal from the independent living program does not affect Cooley’s hospital or group homes.


The action is a result of an investigation that began in January following a report of abuse and neglect to a client of Cooley’s Supervised Independent Living program. This program assists people with developmental disabilities who live independently in private homes or apartments. The investigation, which ended in April, cited G.B. Cooley for numerous deficiencies in staff training, staffing backup support and the lack of a process of identifying possible risks to clients. In order to continue as a Medicaid provider, Cooley was required to submit a plan to LDH to correct its problems.


Although this plan was provided to LDH by the deadline of May 1, Cooley still was monitored to ensure the plan was implemented and to determine if problems had been corrected. Followup inspections continued to show problems that posed an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of the program’s clients. LDH notified Cooley of the problems, and the company did not take the appropriate steps to correct deficiencies or sustain their plan of correction. LDH staff continues to receive complaints about abuse, neglect and deficient standards of care within this Cooley program.


“Our department’s investigation has been coordinated with Adult Protective Services, law enforcement agencies fromMonroe and with the Attorney General’s Office,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise. “In addition, we will continue to inspect and monitor all other Cooley facilities.”


There were 24 clients in the Cooley SIL program. Over the past several weeks, LDH staff worked with these individuals to help them find new providers who will continue their services.


This is not the first time that LDH has investigated G.B. Cooley Services. In May 2002, the department completed a comprehensive investigation of Cooley’s large hospital facility and its series of group homes. This was the largest investigation ever of a provider of services to people with developmental disabilities. That investigation resulted in fines to Cooley, as well as a financial audit of the agency.