Hillandale, a troubled assisted living facility, ordered to close

8:12 PM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida - "I hope they do!" That's the reaction of Jennifer Burns upon learning that the state wants to close the Hillandale Assisted Living Facility. 

Burns lives across the state from the home and says it's clear clients there suffer abuse.

"Verbally, it's horrible," says Burns. "Any cuss word you can imagine, they say it to the residents-constantly screaming at them."

Hillandale opened in 2005 and cares for clients that tend to be younger who suffer from mental illness, or who have mental challenges.

Regulators with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration revoked the facility's license on April 15th citing unsafe conditions. State records show a host of problems over the years, including a lack of qualified staff and injuries to residents that went unreported.

Perhaps the worst case of abuse came in May of 2011. That's when a worker there, Orlando Baez, was arrested and charged with raping a resident, a woman who is mentally challenged. That case remains open.

The victim, who we're not identifying, is now 29 and lives at another facility. She sends her mother sweet cards decorated with hearts and flowers- and mom has strong opinions about Hillandale. 

"It's a hell hole," she says bluntly, and she wants it closed. "Absolutely, so no one else will have to go through what happened to my girl."

10 News went to Hillandale. A woman at the door called an administrator for us, but he had nothing to say. 

"No comment," said the woman, shaking her head.

However, a current resident did speak with us. 

Laura Rogers says she's bi-polar and during her six-weeks at Hillandale, she's seen things she doesn't like. 

"The staff yells and screams at the patients and I don't think that's right," says Rogers, who is back on her meds and about to move out.

Hillandale has until May 16 to officially appeal the state's closure order.

To check out any kind of health care facility in the state and review its record click here.

Follow 10 News Reporter KathrynBursch on twitter @Kathryn Bursch