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Phoenix-Area Adult Care Home Closed By State Health Agency

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JUNE 29, 1998 VOLUME 5, NUMBER 52

Adult care homes are usually seen as friendlier, more home-like and more pleasant than nursing homes. Many seniors are well cared for in adult care homes, particularly in the early stages of dementia or chronic illness. Such homes may also be less expensive for residents, with typical costs in Arizona ranging between $1,200 and $2,000 per month. Most nursing homes, by contrast, cost $3,500 (and up) per month.

Selecting an adult care home (or nursing home) is a difficult task for spouses or children placing an ill senior. It is made more difficult when the responsible relative lives in a distant city.

Michelle Bogre lives in Pennsylvania, and so when her Phoenix-area mother Viona Bogre needed to be placed in an adult care home four years ago she had to come to Arizona to visit prospective placements. She found one she liked–the Philadelphia Home in Glendale. Run by Paul McElligott, the home seemed clean and had been kept up well. Michelle moved her mother into the facility.

For the next four years, she heard regularly from McElligott. Of course, she was paying $1,300 per month for her mother’s care, but the home’s owner frequently wrote her notes about her mother’s condition and contacted her when anything needed attention. Michelle also visited her mother at the home twice a year.

What Michelle Bogre didn’t learn until too late was that in April McElligott sold the home to a new buyer. Under the new owner, Ted Pulaski, Mrs. Bogre’s care and condition both declined rapidly, and she died June 19. One week later, the Arizona Department of Health Services obtained a court order closing the home, based on allegations of neglect of the elderly residents.

When Pulaski purchased the Philadelphia Home, there were eight elderly residents being cared for at the facility. Pulaski claimed that no license was required for him to operate the home because he had purchased only the building and not the business. In fact, he alleged, there was no business to purchase, since all the residents were so sick that they had to leave the home shortly after he took over.

Officials first became concerned about Pulaski’s operation of the home after receiving numerous reports of unchanged adult diapers, inadequate hygiene and verbal abuse by Pulaski. During the course of investigation, they claimed that Pulaski consistently provided misinformation and contradicted himself about the problems they observed. Within six weeks of the change of ownership, six of the eight residents had been admitted to local hospitals in critical condition, suffering from dehydration and bedsores. Two of the patients died.

For his part, owner Pulaski claims that he did nothing wrong. In newspaper interviews, he suggested that he had not helped residents to exercise because they were too frail and likely to fall. He also claimed that as residents got sicker they stopped eating and drinking, and he was then forced to send them to the hospital.

Pulaski was no stranger to care of the elderly. For three years prior to buying the Philadelphia Home, he had operated another adult care home in Glendale. That home had been closed prior to the purchase of the Philadelphia Home; during his time there, Pulaski had been accused of falling below care standards on two occasions.

The Department of Health Services’ order took effect last Friday, June 26. All of the residents were moved out of the home, and a hearing is scheduled for next Thursday to determine whether the order will become permanent.

Ironically, Arizona’s legislature adopted more stringent regulatory provisions for adult care homes in the last session. Reforms of the adult care home system are due to take effect beginning in two months. For residents of the Philadelphia Home, those reforms will be too late.

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Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

Famous people's wills

Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.