Hopkinton, MA
Hopkinton, US
3:34 am, Thursday, September 28, 2023


State orders Golden Pond not to accept new residents after failed compliance review

by | Jun 25, 2023 | Featured: News, News

Golden Pond assisted living facility

Golden Pond was ordered by the state not to accept new residents until officials could determine the facility was in compliance with regulations for assisted living residences. FILE PHOTO/JERRY SPAR

This past Wednesday, employees from the Assisted Living Certification Unit of the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs visited Hopkinton to investigate conditions at an assisted living residence that failed a compliance review in March.

The state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs conducted a compliance review at The Communities at Golden Pond, located at 50 West Main Street, on March 23, according to a letter dated May 22. The facility was ordered not to accept new residents “on or after May 4.”

“Based on findings of non-compliance identified through the review, EOEA has suspended the Assisted Living Residence Certification status of Golden Pond,” reads the letter from the EOEA to Golden Pond (and viewed by the Independent). “Suspension of Certification means that Golden Pond may continue to operate but may not accept any new residents on or after May 4, 2023, until the Secretary of EOEA determines that Golden Pond is in full compliance with all the laws and regulations applicable to Assisted Living Residences.”

“The EOEA told me that the content of that letter is very accurate,” confirmed Hopkinton Health Director Shaun McAuliffe, who on Wednesday spoke with Marie-Jean Earnshaw, the EOEA’s assistant director of assisted living certification compliance.

“They are investigating Golden Pond because they have been accepting clients when they don’t necessarily have the staff to provide the services that are necessary,” he said. “The EOEA is awaiting an action plan from Golden Pond “to see what measures will be put in place.”

The Independent reached out to Michael Volpe, Golden Pond’s executive director, for comment on the violations found by the state during the March audit and plans for rectifying the situation. Volpe did not return a phone call by press time.

In an email sent to Golden Pond residents on May 19 (and obtained by the Independent), Volpe offered an explanation.

“With all of our focus on the health and well-being of our residents and team members as we navigated through the pandemic, we were not always able to maintain all the regulatory requirements required for our certification as an assisted living community,” he wrote. “COVID-19 protocols and unforeseen challenges in staffing and infection control made it very difficult to adhere to all the requirements as we have prided ourselves in years past. I am writing today to notify you that we recently had our survey with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), our regulatory office, and their findings were similar. We work closely with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and embrace the survey as a way to constantly look at how and where we can improve our services and quality of care. Their findings at this most recent survey indicate that we have some work to do to improve our processes.”

In the email, Volpe also stated that while new admissions cannot be accepted, “We are working diligently to correct the issues and welcoming new admissions.”

McAuliffe said the finding of noncompliance was concerning. What he also found troubling was that three Golden Pond residents died there during a one-week span in mid-June.

“There is an expectation of a higher number of deaths than average at Golden Pond or Fairview Estates because they are assisted living facilities,” McAuliffe said. “But there were three deaths reported [in a] week. That is a high number.” [Editor’s note: Fairview Estates is an independent living facility on East Main Street.]

On Wednesday, McAuliffe said the Office of the State Medical Examiner was in contact with him because he is in charge of the town’s burial records.

“The Medical Examiner’s Office said there are several deaths they are looking at,” he said, noting that the police and fire departments are being contacted as well. “I am not sure of the specifics at this time.”

McAuliffe said he hoped to receive records from the Fire Department related to Golden Pond to see if any resident deaths may have been reported to other hospitals. While patients usually are transported to Milford Regional Urgent Care in Hopkinton for care, more emergent cases could go to Milford Regional Medical Center in Milford or to MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, as well as to Boston hospitals. These hospitals might not report death data for Hopkinton residents to the Hopkinton Health Department.