Ken Fletcher’s disagreement with Legacy
by Bill Knowles
TRINIDAD — Trinidad historian and writer Ken Fletcher found himself facing possible homelessness last week during a trial that would determine if he would be able to stay at the Legacy at Trinidad. Fletcher was defended by local attorney Jon Barclay, pro bono.
Fletcher is known for his research about Trinidad and Las Animas County, and is best known for the historical work he’s done on the calendars produced by the First National Bank in Trinidad.
Fletcher was admitted to the Legacy at Trinidad on Nov. 6, 2014, and was given a discharge letter by the Legacy on Nov. 28, 2017. As noted during the trial, the letter of discharge was given to Fletcher, not mailed as registered mail. Neither of his two emergency contacts were notified, and neither was his Medicaid case manager. Fletcher did not have a legal representative at the time, nor does he have immediate family.
The Legacy’s argument for discharge
The reason given by Legacy for the discharge was that Fletcher was “declining”. Testimony given by Georgette Santistevan, the administrator for Legacy at Trinidad, stated that Fletcher’s level of care currently requires skilled nursing, which the home doesn’t provide. The home also does not have a doctor on hand.
Fletcher’s case against the discharge
However, Fletcher was in the same condition at the time of his trial as he was at the time of his admission into the Legacy in November 2014.
Upon admission he was in a wheelchair, as he is today. He reports he is able to dress himself, transfer himself to his bed, and is able to have coherent conversations with his therapist at Health Solutions. He is still competent and has not been deemed otherwise by a medical authority.
Trying to work it out
When Fletcher received the notice of discharge on Nov. 11, 2017, he notified his advocate and emergency contact Gail Meehan. In December 2017, Meehan contacted Legacy’s ombudswoman Carol Daves. Daves indicated to Meehan that Fletcher was “noncompliant” and would not brush his teeth. Daves never contacted either of Fletcher’s emergency contacts.
Both Meehan and Fletcher’s physician, Dr. Castro Flores, recommended an extension so that Fletcher could recondition. The extension was given until Jan. 5, 2018.
By Jan. 4, 2018, Fletcher, through Meehan, had retained legal council. Meehan had also filed a grievance, according to Legacy policy, for Fletcher. The company did not resolve the internal grievance. Fletcher then requested arbitration according to the rules in the Resident Agreement.
At the time of the trial on March 2, 2018, arbitration had not been started, a point that Judge Bruce Billings noted when making his ruling.
Judge Billings also dismissed the case against Fletcher while at the same time ruling that arbitration, as stated in the agreement, didn’t have rules showing how, why, or when arbitration can be used to settle disputes between residents and the company. He ruled that arbitration would be used within 30 days of the ruling. He also set a status conference for a new trial on April 13, 2018.