Roosevelt Care Center official reprimanded

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) officials reprimanded the chief administrator of the Roosevelt Care Center for what officials characterized as an isolated lapse in judgment.

More than a month after Roosevelt Care resident Joe Marino, an amputee, was allegedly left at a social services office in New Brunswick with no way back to the center, Chief Operating Officer Dr. Frank Damiani was scolded about the error in judgment at the MCIA’s monthly board meeting last week, according to a statement released by the authority.

The MCIA owns and manages the Roosevelt Care Center.

At the time of the alleged incident, Marino was due to be released from the facility. His Feb. 9 visit to social services was made to set up living arrangements for his impending discharge. However, since he was still living at Roosevelt, he needed to return there after the visit to the New Brunswick office.

Overseeing transportation issues is among Damiani’s responsibilities at the center.

While this issue slipped by his radar screen showing a lapse in judgment, said MCIA Executive Director Richard Pucci in a prepared statement, "it appears that this incident was an isolated event.

"The authority acknowledges [Damiani’s] positive relationship with the overwhelming majority of the residents, as well as improvements to Roosevelt Care Center during [Damiani’s] administration."

Assuring MCIA board members that the incident was a one-time error, Damiani issued a statement saying, "I know I made a poor decision and I regret it."

Damiani said he wanted to avoid the similar problems with transportation in the future.

He added that he felt an important next step was to "draw up a formal policy for procedures involving resident transportation. Then it will be clear to everyone at the facility – residents, their families, employees and volunteers – what the step-by-step procedure is."

Damiani did not return calls requesting further comment on the issue.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services gave the center a superior rating in its annual survey, MCIA officials noted.

That rating is a testament to a high quality of care for residents at the hands of Damiani, MCIA Chairman Leonard J. Roseman said.

"Dr. Damiani is one of the reasons the care is so good. This incident does not reflect normal day-to-day professionalism," Roseman said.

Middlesex County Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel, the board’s liaison to the authority, said in a prepared statement that he wanted the MCIA to rectify the poor error in judgment by Damiani immediately.

He supported the reprimand, calling the action "appropriate" and cautioned that the incident was a serious one that needed to be prevented in the future.

"This action acknowledges the serious nature of the incident, and at the same time, it allows Dr. Damiani to go forward managing the operations at Roosevelt Care Center," Crabiel said.