Last updated: August 24. 2013 1:05PM - 286 Views

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PANDORA — A nearly 20-year employee of Hilty Memorial Home filed a wrongful discharge claim against the Pandora facility and director Joy Reichenbach citing violations of Ohio law that prevents retaliation against an employee who reports suspected abuse or neglect.

Chery Core, of Pandora, formerly employed as a minimum data set patient care coordinator at Hilty Memorial Home, is seeking back pay, reinstatement of her job or front pay, and compensatory damages in an amount in excess of $25,000.

Core said that Hilty Home fired her on Nov. 16 in retaliation for making reports of suspected abuse or neglect of residents, which is a violation of the Ohio Revised Code.

She said that in 2009 she reported to the director, Joy Reichenbach, the abusive conduct of a physical therapy assistant providing contractual therapy services to Hilty Memorial Home. Core said she was told to “work things out,” with the therapy assistant.

She said that Dr. David Houston, Hilty’s medical director, said the overly aggressive physical therapy of the assistant “likely hastened the death of at least one weak-hearted resident.”

Another incident Core lists is reporting the malnutrition of a resident. Core said she discovered a resident had lost 17.5 pounds in four weeks. She found the resident had been receiving the wrong nutritional supplement and in a lesser quantity than had been ordered on his care management plan.

Core said she reported this error during a staff meeting and in her termination letter was told it was an example of Core’s “alleged inability to work in a positive manner with the staff and accept leadership. Core said five days later the resident died after significant weight loss.

The third incident Core reported was that a hospice consultation was scheduled by staff, including Marcia Hoehn at Hilty Home, for a resident with psychiatric infirmities. Core said she protested the resident was not terminal and questioned whether the decision had been made solely because they thought hospice would medicate the resident to the point that she would no longer have outbursts, thus enabling Hilty to give the resident a roommate.

In Core’s termination letter she was told she had “offended Ms. Hoehn by questioning her motives for consulting with hospice.” This was cited as another example of Core’s inability to work in a positive manner with other staff.

When contacted, Attorney Brian Butler, of Cincinnati, who is representing Core, would not comment.

Hilty Memorial Home Director Joy Reichenbach also would not comment.

A pretrial conference has been set for July 15.

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