The former chief executive of Aperee Living, who run nine nursing homes, has said he resigned from the position three months after taking the job due to concerns about the “financial integrity” of the company.
A string of recent inspections by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) raised serious concerns about the management of residents’ money in Aperee nursing homes.
The regulator found cases where the company was inappropriately using residents’ funds to cover the running costs of some nursing homes, before topping accounts back up, as well as cases where money had not been returned to deceased residents’ estates.
Last week Hiqa moved to shut down one home run by Aperee in Ballygunner, Co Waterford, due to “serious concerns about the care and welfare of residents”. The Health Service Executive had to step in to take charge of the facility with immediate effect.
Henry Burrows, a healthcare industry veteran, came on board as chief executive of the nursing home group this January, but left shortly afterwards.
In a statement to The Irish Times, Mr Burrows said he had major reservations about the financial health of the nursing home group.
Aperee, who run nine nursing homes caring for more than 500 residents, was founded by Cork-based investments firm BlackBee Group. Its founder, Cork businessman David O’Shea, is the sole director of Aperee’s holding company, records show.
After less than a month as chief executive, Mr Burrows said he raised concerns about his planned appointment onto the board of Aperee companies, as well as being listed as a representative of the provider in dealings with Hiqa.
Mr Burrows said as a result of his concerns he informed Mr O’Shea that he would be “abstaining from accepting any directorship on the group’s subsidiary companies”.
His statement said he had “formed reservations” about the “fiscal transparency of the group companies”, as well as the “financial integrity of those companies and their corporate operations”.
“I confirm that I escalated these reservations and clearly communicated them to the appropriate decision-makers within the group,” he said.
Mr Burrows said when he felt matters were not addressed satisfactorily he tendered his resignation at the start of April. He said he was placed on gardening leave until this July when his association with Aperee ended.
Earlier this year liquidators were appointed to wind down BlackBee Investment, a separate investment fund set up by the BlackBee group and led by Mr O’Shea, following a High Court application by the Central Bank over concerns about the fund.
Hiqa, the State healthcare watchdog, has been raising concerns it has with Aperee with the nursing home group since late last year.
In recently published inspection reports, the regulator has criticised failures to carry out works to address serious fire safety shortcomings in some of its homes, such as Aperee Living Camp, Tralee, and Aperee Living Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
In an inspection of Aperee Living Camp in Tralee, the regulator found it had a “significant” list of creditors, several of whom had refused to provide further services until they were paid.
Inspectors were “very concerned about the manner in which residents’ funds were being managed” in the nursing home, it said.
The company also announced in early August that it would be closing its nursing home in Belgooly, Co Cork, following a review of its business.
Aperee did not respond to requests for comment on the criticism from Mr Burrows.