Former case manager says Crossroads’ problems hurting patients

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2020

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A former case worker for Crossroads is alleging poor management has led to the possible suffering and death of a patient in an Amelia County group home as well as the physical abuse of two other patients.

Thomas Woodall, a former case manager for Crossroads, sent every member of the Crossroads Community Services Board a letter in early September, claiming poor management and mistreatment of patients in one of the organization’s group homes allegedly led to the death of one individual in the agency’s care and physical abuse in two other cases. Woodall resigned from the organization the same day he sent the letter after 16 years as a social services worker and nine years as a case manager for Crossroads.

“This is as real as it gets,” Woodall wrote in the Sept. 10 letter. “This is no longer a matter of lacking basic management skills, this is a matter of lacking basic human skills.”

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Woodall said in a Sept. 10 interview Crossroads personnel waited to seek medical attention for the patient who died until the individual could not physically walk anymore.

“Rather than call an ambulance, assuming he had a stroke, they took him to a walk-in clinic in Farmville,” Woodall stated.

The patient, according to Woodall, was then transported to the emergency department. Woodall also said he had been led to believe the patient was diagnosed with lithium toxicity and three broken ribs. The patient died several weeks later, according to Woodall.

The letter dated Sept. 10 makes an attempt to implore board members to take action regarding the supposed mistreatment of individuals in Crossroads’ care.

“While death is an inevitability, suffering can be mitigated,” Woodall wrote. “I am telling you that there may be a direct line of causality between poor management and the possible suffering prior to death of a person in the care of Crossroads CSB. While at the same time that this person may have suffered, poor management may have resulted in the physical abuse of another and it is believed a second individual.”

The letter the board received includes case numbers for the three individuals referenced by Woodall. He told The Herald he’d filed three separate cases with the Office of the State Inspector General regarding his concerns.

Since Woodall’s letter was sent, the Crossroads Community Services Board has had two special meetings where board members spent hours in closed sessions, but no public comments have been made regarding this case.

At one point in the first closed session, a member of the board came to the door asking if Woodall was in the parking lot. He had already left. Woodall said the board has made no other attempts to contact him for further information regarding the allegations of mistreatment.

When asked about the letter and allegations against Crossroads, Crossroads Executive Director Susan Baker said Friday, Sept. 25, she had no comment to give.

Board Chair Helen Simmons did not respond to a request for comment sent Thursday, Sept. 24.

“This is not supposed to happen,” Woodall said. “These are not private providers. This is the public mental health authority for these seven counties that is running these programs. They need to be setting the gold standard for everybody. This is not typical.

“I’m hoping it is abundantly clear that poor management has resulted in, and continues to erode the standards of quality.”

Woodall said Baker does not regularly return phone calls and said she does not come into work regularly. “They have stacked the deck with profoundly incompetent people, but who are also profoundly arrogant,” he said. “When you put those two things together, you have a real problem.”

Woodall said he’d sent a previous letter addressed to the board in January regarding management issues at Crossroads, including the nearing January 31 closure of the organization’s supported employment services, which for years provided employment opportunities to those in the community who struggle with mental illness and developmental/intellectual disabilities as well as situational assessments and school-to-work transition services for public school systems in the area.

Woodall cited possible reasons for the termination of the program, including an inability to pass CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditations.

Crossroads serves the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward.