Rogue caregiver will get prison
LIHUE » A Kauai man was convicted this week of running an unlicensed care home and neglecting a patient so badly that he was admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
Jason Craig, 41, of Kalaheo was found guilty after a two-day bench trial, and will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 20 months in jail when he is sentenced Feb. 21, said officials with the state Department of the Attorney General. He faces up to six years in jail and $12,000 in fines.
He was acquitted on charges of theft and failure to file a tax return.
Craig was convicted of taking in 82-year-old Ryoji Hironaka in December 2004, charging his family $4,000 a month for care, despite the fact Craig was never licensed to operate a care home.
In March 2005, Craig dropped off Hironaka at his doctor's office for an appointment. The doctor noticed that Hironaka, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia, had lost 20 pounds under Craig's care and had developed a severe bedsore on his back and smaller sores on his body.
He was immediately admitted, in critical condition, to Wilcox Hospital, where he was also found to have sepsis and that he had suffered a small heart attack, officials with the attorney general's office added.
A complaint was filed with Adult Protective Services, and an inspector from the Department of Health began an investigation, state officials said yesterday.
Another of Craig's patients was removed from the home and was relocated to another care home, said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health. She could not comment on his condition when he was found, but said he is doing well.
Craig had "been doing this for a while," said Mike Parrish, director of the Medical Fraud Control Unit at the attorney general's office.
Okubo stressed that anyone looking for home care services for a loved one should make sure that the establishment is licensed.
To find out whether a home care institution is licensed, or to report a complaint, call the Office of Healthcare Assurance at (808) 692-7400. All licensed home care providers are listed on the Department of Health Web site at www.hawaii.gov/health, Okubo added.