Salem assisted living facility not yet closing despite state’s cease and desist letter

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The letter cited a more than 30-page report claiming the assisted living facility has no license and several other deficiencies

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – A Columbiana County assisted living facility will not close this week following a state cease and desist order.

On Friday, Sept. 18, the Ohio Department of Health sent a cease and desist letter to The Courtyard at Lexington in Salem. The letter cited a more than 30-page report claiming the assisted living facility has no license and several other deficiencies.

Cease and Desist Letter

The Courtyard at Lexington was ordered to stop operations by this Thursday, Oct. 1, but that is no longer the case.

The facility’s owner, Robert Hutton, said it has been a very upsetting situation and he disputes the claims made by the state.

State of Ohio Investigation into The Courtyard at Lexington

Hutton said he has been working closely with the Department of Health and that it has been clear for several days now that the cease and desist letter is on hold, meaning residents won’t have to move on Thursday.

Ohio State Representative Tim Ginter is also closely involved. He confirmed that The Courtyard at Lexington does have an extension from the state.

Ginter added that he has been in direct contact with Ohio’s interim director of health, Lance Himes. He said Himes texted him on Tuesday saying, quote, “As long as they’re making good faith efforts to move the higher level of care residents out ASAP, we’ll work with them beyond 10/1, but no new deadline has been set.”

The long-term care ombudsman program with the Direction Home of Eastern Ohio is in charge of helping residents find new homes, so the extension is a relief.

“It gives us more opportunity to really make it a person-centered approach to this situation rather than a scramble to figure out what we’re going to do before Thursday,” said Cassandra Valentini, a state advocate for residents.

Valentini said the residents are their priority, so they’ll still be working with those at The Courtyard at Lexington even while the cease and desist is on hold.

“This is their life. We want to make sure that regardless of where they end up or where they live, that they’re able to make the choices themselves,” Valentini said.

Everyone involved said they all care about the wellbeing of the residents and will do what is best for them. They also agreed that this situation has a lot of moving parts and changes often, so First News will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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