Hancock County health care facility went unnoticed by state for years

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GREENFIELD, Ind. (November 24, 2105) - Adult Protective Services investigators say a home health care facility in Greenfield was flying under the state's radar.

The owners of Kearns Comfort Care, Shawn and David Kearns, were arrested Monday after Greenfield Police found six adults living in unfit conditions. The Kearn's lawyer entered a not guilty plea for the mother and son on Tuesday during an initial hearing in Hancock County court. The pair is charged with multiple counts of neglect of an elderly dependent and criminal recklessness.

The Kearn's had been operating a health care facility out of the home for years before investigators found out. According to state health department codes, a facility with four or more patients is required to have a license. Kearns Comfort Care had six patients living in the home. They were not licensed with the state. The Indiana State Department of Health said they are "working with the Indiana Attorney General's office to determine the appropriate civil action."

This case has brought to light the problems Adult Protective Services investigators say are everywhere in the state. Jerry Kiefer represents Hancock, Shelby, and Johnson Counties. Kiefer said without a complaint from a hospital worker, his department would have never found out about the alleged neglect at Kearns Comfort Care.

“It should be very concerning. It certainly is concerning to me. No medical training, no experience, no recording of medicines being passed and treatments, that bothers me," Kiefer said.

State code requires facilities like Kearns Comfort Care to be licensed. Kiefer said that would mean there would have been more oversight in the facility. When asked how this facility was running for years without a license and wasn't caught earlier by the state department of health, Kiefer said he didn't know.

"Somehow they fly under the radar, for some reason this is an exception, an exemption. It may be referred to as a loophole. I don't get it," he said.

Kiefer said since Monday, he has learned there many be many other home health care operations in Hancock County operating similarly to Kearns Comfort Care.

"At this point, all of us are absolutely baffled how this could happen," he said.

David Kearns was placed on a $2,500 cash bond. His mother, Shawn Kearns was placed on a $5,000 cash bond. The bond conditions state they must not operate as a caregiver and are required to return all medications and medical equipment to patients.

Adult Protective Services investigators recommend to do research before placing your loved on in a home health care facility. That includes looking into if the facility has a license. They also recommend for you to ask a lot of questions and sign a contract.

For more information on adult protective services, click here.

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