Investigation of Veteran Home finds no criminal conduct - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Investigation of Veteran Home finds no criminal conduct

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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 1:03 am | Updated: 10:51 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Problems of neglect and mismanagement last year at the Arizona State Veteran Home did not rise to the level of criminal conduct, and officials have no one specific to blame for the facility's conditions, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Monday.

"Under these circumstances, the filing of criminal charges would not be sustainable," said Mike Scerbo of the county attorney's office in a statement.

The troubled Phoenix home, which cares for some of the state's oldest and most venerable war veterans, was fined thousands in 2007 by state and federal officials after an unannounced inspection found patients left in soiled undergarments and smoking cigarettes while unsupervised.

The county attorney's office conducted interviews of patients and employees, reviewed case files and consulted with lawyers regarding state laws and found that while the home changed its top level of management, it didn't remove former caregivers or alter its culture, so some of its problems are still present, officials said.

"The investigation further revealed that so many individuals had a hand in patient care and policies that there was no way to ascertain who was directly responsible for potential neglect," Scerbo said in the statement.

Two employees at the home have been disciplined, and former director Patrick Chorpenning resigned. Officials found that Chorpenning encouraged the hiring of his relatives and friends, prompting officials to worry that proper hiring practices were not maintained and some employees may not have been qualified.

The county attorney's findings in the investigation will be forwarded to the Arizona Attorney General's Office for further investigation into the allegations of nepotism, officials said.

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