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Bancroft Given Two Week Notice
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 19, 2002

HADDONFIELD, NEW JERSEY--Bancroft Neurohealth was notified on Wednesday that that it has two weeks to clean up its act or have its New Jersey operations turned over to an independent party.

Bancroft provides services to over 1,000 people with developmental and other disabilities in five states, including New Jersey.

Earlier this year the state of New Jersey fined Bancroft $127,000 -- the largest amount the state has ever charged against a long-term care facility. Bancroft was cited because it violated residents' rights, put their mental and physical health at risk, failed to report dozens of incidents involving abuse or neglect, and failed to contact medical personnel during a medical emergency.

Even though the facility has received direct assistance from the state Department of Human Services, it continues to be out of compliance with regulations, officials said.

Bancroft has until January 2 to fully comply. If it does not, the state will file an application for receivership with the New Jersey Superior Court, which could appoint an independent party to run the facility.

Meanwhile, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office is still investigating the February 6 death of Bancroft resident Matthew Goodman. Fourteen-year-old Matthew, who had autism, died of pneumonia, respiratory distress and blood poisoning. Investigators later learned that he had been over-medicated and improperly restrained while at The Lindens, a Bancroft facility for youths with "severe behavior problems".

His death and the restraint-related deaths of others who have died while in New Jersey institutions have prompted lawmakers to introduce two measures -- one dubbed "Matthew's Law" -- that would regulate the use of physical and mechanical restraints. A public hearing on those proposed laws is set for January 16 at the state capital.

Matthew's Law & Bancroft School (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)


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