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Inspector sees state action as retaliation

A state worker who inspects assisted-living facilities said his bosses placed him on paid administrative leave Tuesday in retaliation for speaking to the Globe and other media about the Patrick administration’s failure to investigate serious incidents at assisted-living centers.

Peter Antonellis, a compliance officer at the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, said he was handed a letter saying he is being investigated for multiple instances of “potentially inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.” He said he was asked to gather his personal belongings and leave the office.

Antonellis, 64, said that when he asked supervisors what conduct had triggered the action, he was not given details.


“What really makes my blood boil is my colleagues and I have been complaining for the last six years about this program and not once has the department gathered us in a room to address our complaints,” Antonellis said.

A Globe story last month quoted Antonellis about his concerns regarding the agency’s oversight of assisted-living facilities. He said that the office has just two ombudsmen to handle thousands of complaints that pour in each year involving assisted-living residences and that the agency did not have the staff to regulate the apartment-like facilities for older adults.

Antonellis also told the Globe he had repeatedly alerted his superiors that reports of serious incidents at such facilities were languishing for weeks or months at the agency and that no one seemed to be analyzing them for patterns pointing to larger issues.

Two days after that story appeared, state regulators acknowledged during an Assisted Living Advisory Council meeting that they are still working out bugs in a year-old computerized data-collection system. That system does not yet record the consequence of incidents at the state’s 222 assisted-living residences, nor actions taken by the facilities or state regulators to correct problems.


Antonellis said he intends to hire a lawyer to fight the state’s action.

Patrick administration spokesman Alec Loftus said in a statement that Antonellis “has been placed on paid administrative leave while we investigate a potential health information privacy violation.”

Kay Lazar can be reached at Kay.Lazar@globe.com.