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Legally blind man kicked out of nursing home gets help from community

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 8:45 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s a new beginning for a legally blind man who was thrown out of a Richmond nursing home and onto the street with no place to go, and without proper medication.

You may remember Steven Brown when our team investigated allegations against a local nursing home in September. Brown’s story touched many of you and now, he’s getting a second chance in Florida and is grateful this Thanksgiving for everyone who helped.

His journey from heartbreak to healing began when word of his emergency status of being evicted from Bonview Rehabilitation and Healthcare, homeless, without a job and needing care, spread across the internet, prompting a Florida friend with the resources and resolve to get him on a plane and into care.

“The person was more than willing and knows my character gave an opportunity for me to continue with my job. Finding a place for sure and making better strides. The story that you guys reported - it was right on time,” Brown said.

Brown stopped by NBC12 on his way to the airport, accompanied by a helper his friend arranged. It was a quick visit to collect encouraging cards two strangers mailed to On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker for Steven with money inside.

“I can’t say I deserve it. Do I need help? Yes,” he said. His helper read from the cards that are both uplifting and praying for his strength. “That’s beautiful. I just don’t have the words in my vocabulary to describe how I feel. I don’t know if that was their last, I don’t know how hard they worked for it. I don’t know, but I do know they took the time to do this - which is a lot.”

Brown says Walker’s reports got information out that people otherwise would have never known. For instance, a Medicare-Medicaid investigation found that Brown’s discharge from Bonview Rehabilitation and Healthcare in 2019 was a life-threatening violation. Bonview was also cited for contacting Social Security and becoming the payee without Brown’s permission, causing him to lose his apartment because he couldn’t access his own money. The report says Bonview refunded him, but by then it was too late.

Bonview maintains it’s not at liberty to discuss patients and says their staff is focused on keeping patients safe and protected during the pandemic. As much as he has suffered, Brown wants to be an advocate for nursing home residents. He wants consequences for inaction when facilities, and even government agencies, turn a blind eye to allegations of abuse and neglect.

“These facilities are needed. They are. But that doesn’t excuse you abusing someone that’s sick. Kicking them when they’re down. That’s disgusting,” Brown said.

From where Brown sits now, life is looking a lot better.

“Thank you. I definitely appreciate it, and it will be used the proper way like money is supposed to be used,” he said.

The friend helping him says Brown will stay in Florida until he gets stable. He is legally blind and diagnosed with major depressive disorder, anxiety and rheumatoid arthritis. She says he is a special man who doesn’t belong in this situation.

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