State investigation: Hutto group home had numerous violations

HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — A state investigation into a group home formerly operated by Hutto City Councilman Michael Smith shows the business was “out of compliance” on numerous items before it closed.

Investigators with the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities found 16 new items of non-compliance at A Step Beyond LLC related to service delivery, quality assurance, restraint and rights of individuals, according to the review. KXAN obtained a copy of the investigation Thursday.

Smith told KXAN he was away from the business from April to November of 2014, which is when nearly all of the violations noted in the review occurred. Smith also said he believes DADS made an example of his small business.

“I 100 percent disagree with the violations. I disagree with the procedure in which this was conducted. We were not given a change to appeal,” Smith said. “DADS refused to look at the evidence showing that a majority of these [problems] had been rectified or were in the process of being rectified.”

Hutto Mayor Pro-tem Michael Smith
Hutto Mayor Pro-tem Michael Smith

The state ended its contract with the group home in June, after it found multiple violations, DADS Spokeswoman Cecilia Cavuto said last month. Smith said A Step Beyond and its sister business Beyond the Limits have both closed, and he is not currently operating any similar businesses.

According to the investigation, the group home was “out of compliance” on 16 different items including a discrepancy in client medication and inadequate supervision of a client. The investigation also found late reporting of “critical incident data” and missed medical appointments ordered by physicians. Most of those violations occurred during the timeframe Smith said he was absent from the business.

The report also notes medication may not have been administered properly to a person called “consumer #1.” That same person was “arrested Aug. 4, 2014, for stabbing a group home staff member,” the review states.

Smith said he couldn’t comment on the stabbing because he was not working at the business during that time period.

Hutto voters first elected Smith to the Hutto City Council in 2009. He is currently mayor pro tem of the city. In state tax reports that Smith filed, he reported himself as CEO of A Step Beyond Inc. for report years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Smith said that while he was away from A Step Beyond in 2014, Sanh Moss was the CEO.

Sanh Moss 2Hutto police arrested Moss for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance—four grams of amphetamine pills—according to a police report filed in May. Police said Moss admitted to taking two Lorazepam pills she stole from consumers at the group home.

Smith said Moss at first “falsified the extent to which the DWI had occurred.” Once he collaborated with law enforcement and found out the extent of Sanh’s DWI, “all ties were cut with her,” he said.


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