Aug 14, 2014 10:20 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News
De Groot's has been home to children with severe physical needs for more than 30 years, but now the home's certification could be taken away at the end of September.
"The threat is very real," said pediatrician Rene Bravo, who has been working with De Groot's for 27 years. "This is certainly the most dire situation I've seen the De Groot Home face."
Inpectors with California's Department of Public Health sent the De Groot's Nursing Home nearly 100 pages of changes, ranging from small fixes to constructing new walls.
"They want it to be like a state hospital," Sjany De Groot said.
Sjany De Groot founded the home with her husband, and has dedicated her life to providing comfortable lives for children who, she says, would otherwise have nowhere else to go. One of them is Mariah, who lost most of her sight and motor function after someone tried suffocating her when she was three months old.
"She's now 10 years old. She smiles and she loves people," De Groot said. "They're my own kids. They came as little tiny babies, dying. And they lived."
Now De Groot fears the state "could cut my funding today and take [the children] tomorrow," she said.
Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) says he helped get her a 60-day extension to make the changes. As of now, De Groot has until September 30 to comply with the state's demands or lose her certification.
"It's a matter of common sense and the human touch. She accepts them as her own children and not as a business. It's a very touchy situation so we're going to try our best, but unfortunately the laws still exist," Assemblyman Achadjian said.
Dr. Bravo says paperwork is coming before the patients' best interest.
"It's clear to everyone involved that these children are doing well, that they're thriving, that there's no harm coming. In many cases, they're living lives they wouldn't have lived," Dr. Bravo said. "She's operated this home for decades now and suddenly there seems to be an urgency from the state. The rules have changed."
KSBY News called the State's Public Health Department. They were not able to get any answers to us by press time; however, they say they will respond with more details.
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