A story about the Valley Springs Manor residential care home in Castro Valley gave an incorrect bank account number for the janitor, Miguel Alvarez. The bank account has been set up for Alvarez at US Bank under the name Miguel "The Janitor" Alvarez. The routing number is 121122676 and the account number 153469203951.
CASTRO VALLEY -- The last state official to inspect the Valley Springs Manor just a day before its chaotic mass evacuation noted there was not enough food and medicine for its 19 residents before she left the home for the weekend in the hands of a cook and two other workers.
Newly released 911 calls and state inspection reports reveal alarming health conditions and confusion as a small crew of inexperienced and unpaid workers struggled to take care of residents after the state ordered the home's closure and most of the workforce walked off.
Not only was there not enough bread, eggs and other perishable food, but workers told her they were not giving out medicine because they couldn't find it. The state Department of Social Services official also raised red flags by reporting that one resident had wandered off the premises. That man, Edmund Bascom, remains missing.
Before leaving at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 25, a Friday afternoon, the state worker issued a $3,800 fine because the facility was still under operation despite the fact that the state had suspended the license the previous night. Before leaving, she reports handing her report to the home's cook, Maurice Rowland, even though she reportedly met with his supervisor earlier in the afternoon.
Department spokesman Michael Weston said state workers were supposed to have made sure before they left, particularly when the facility officially closed at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, that residents were being safely transitioned to new homes.
"It's clear procedures were not followed (by state workers) and that was unacceptable," Weston said. He said if correct protocol was followed, "the facility would be shut down" and emptied of residents "before the final revocation (was) actually put in place."
He declined to say if disciplinary actions would be taken against the state workers, who operate out of a regional office in Oakland. An internal review began earlier this week into how the department responded to the Castro Valley fiasco.
After the state officials took off, the cook and janitor who stayed on -- with no pay -- said their supervisor was nowhere to be found, leaving just the two of them to bathe, feed and monitor residents despite not having the proper training.
Rowland, the cook, said the state agency workers should have done more to help after witnessing alarming conditions after caretakers began walking off the job.
"She was aware of everything that was going on," Rowland said of the last state official to visit the home. "She had some authority and she could've made something happen. She could have done more than what she did."
The state officials weren't the only government workers visiting the home before its closure -- the Department of Social Services also invited Alameda County Adult Protective Services and private placement agencies to help find residents new homes. Social workers said moving the residents was challenging because the home was missing important medical records and family contact information. And county officials said they had expected the state oversight agency to manage the relocation.
"The authority that should be coordinating this should be the state," said Victoria Tolbert, who directs adult aging and Medi-Cal services for Alameda County.
As the cook and the janitor were left alone with residents on Friday night and Saturday, newly released 911 calls documented their exasperation.
"What's wrong with him?" the dispatcher asks the cook about an ill resident.
"Well, I haven't seen him," Rowland said. "But they just told me to call 911 because he is looking pretty bad."
In another call, Rowland said while it was not a "life or death" situation, one of the residents was breathing heavily and "may have been running a bit of a fever."
Roughly 40 minutes later, a fire captain, who realized the gravity of the situation, called Alameda County Sheriff's deputies for help. The hours long evacuation began shortly after.
"It's a convalescent home that's been shut down by the state and there are still clients in the building without any support," the dispatcher said. "It looks like the management people have left them here."
Since the facility's evacuation Saturday, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said they suspect the facility neglected more than a dozen long-term residents left there without adequate care over the weekend.
Investigators from an FBI health care fraud unit and the state Attorney General's office also convened with local law enforcement officials Thursday to discuss a probe that could last for months.
Offers have poured in to help the janitor, Miguel Alvarez, and the cook, Maurice Rowland, who stayed behind to help the 19 remaining residents at Valley Springs Manor residential care home. A bank account has been set up for Miguel Alvarez at US Bank under the name Miguel "The Janitor" Alvarez. The routing number is 121122676 and the account number 153469203951. Maurice Rowland can be reached by email at email@example.com
Police say anyone who sees the missing Valley Springs Manor resident, 65-year-old Edmund Bascom, should call his social worker at 510-681-3990. He was last seen at the San Leandro BART station Friday afternoon wearing a Raiders shirt, blue pants, black boots and a fishing hat.