Attorney General Identifies Group Home Resident Whose Death Prompted Investigations

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin has named Barbara A. Annis as the 70 year-old woman whose Feb. 15 death has triggered criminal investigations and unannounced inspections of hundreds of group homes for persons with developmental disabilities. 

Kilmartin’s spokeswoman released Annis’ name April 1, but gave no additional information, according to the Providence Journal. 

Annis lived in the now-closed College Park Apartments at 612 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, a state-run facility built to accommodate patients who have chronic medical conditions as well as intellectual or developmental challenges. 

She was admitted to Roger Williams Hospital Feb. 9 for what the College Park staff reported as a bad bruise, but which the hospital found to be a broken thigh bone that had become infected. After she responded to initial treatment, she was transferred to a nursing home, according to an official of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH).  But her condition soon worsened and she was readmitted to the hospital, where she died. 

There have been a total of six allegations of abuse or mistreatment at College Park since January, 2015, including an incident that occurred after Annis died. The State Police and the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit have begun criminal investigations, and 5 of 27 state employees who worked at College Park were placed on paid leave. 

In addition, surprise inspections have begun of all licensed group homes in the state, about 278 private and state-run facilities, according to a spokesman for Elizabeth Roberts, Secretary of Rhode Island’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Nine of the 278 homes are vacant. 

Residents who remained at College Park – a total of 14 people – all have been moved, according to BHDDH, which ran the home. The Rhode Island Disability Law Center has opened an investigation into the welfare of those people.   

After College Park closed March 25, Roberts said, “I remain outraged by the alleged incidents at the College Park Apartments group home.”