A Lee County grand jury has indicted 31-year old Brandi Smith of Tupelo, for allegedly taking more than $250 from two residents at an assisted living facility in Saltillo. The state attorney general's office is investigating the case. If convicted, Smith faces up to 10 years in prison. Larry McKnight is with the Methodist Specialty Care Center, in Flowood. He says, it's hard to prevent theft completely, but most facilities and nursing homes have a secure place to keep patients' money.
"We have a resident fund and the money is kept there. It's like a bank. They can put money in. They can come down and draw money out," said McKnight.
According to McKnight, The Medicaid Act, requires that all residents are read the patient's list of rights and understand them. He says employees should be trained in that area, have reviews and understand the risks beyond termination.
"Their licensed is generally in jeopardy. If they are a nurse, then certainly the Board of Nursing will take a look at it. If they are certified nursing assistant, then their license is also in jeopardy," said McKnight.
McKnight urges families to meet with administrators, get to know the staff, and vary visits to observe what is going on. Ivory Craig with AARP tells families to protect sensitive information.
"If you're in a facility that information is on file. But don't carry your social security card in your wallet and if you have the opportunity shred sensitive information," said Craig.
Larry McKnight says families can register a complaint with the facility, which is required to notify the attorney general's office.