State official barred from taking job with senior-living company

An Indiana state official in charge of regulatory oversight of nursing homes and residential care facilities has been barred from taking a job at a private company that runs senior living communities over ethics concerns.

Kimberley Rhoades, director of the state department’s division of long-term care, had sought permission from the State Ethics Commission to take a position as director of compliance for CarDon & Associates, which runs 22 senior living communities, most of which are licensed and regulated by the state.

Bloomington-based CarDon, founded in 1977, has 2,300 employees and annual revenue of more $170 million, according to a 2014 IBJ profile.

Her job duties at CarDon would have included reviewing and advising on vendor contracts and corporate policy and procedures, as well as complying with the state and federal requirements for long-term care facilities. Rhoades has worked at the Department of Health for 17 years and has been division director for seven years.

In a disclosure statement to the ethics commission, Rhoades said she was approached about the opening and did not solicit the job. She said she has no responsibilities in her state job with negotiating contracts. Her main duties are personnel hiring and discipline, providing guidance on survey issues, attending meetings with state and federal agencies, signing licensure and enforcement letters, and making recommendations to the state on rule waivers and state enforcement actions.

“It does appear likely Ms. Rhoades would have contact with ISDH if she were to be employed by CarDon,” according a memo written by Rachel D. Russell, ethics officer for the state department of health. “However, she believes the contact would be incidental.”

But the state ethics commission ruled Friday that Rhoades would need a one-year cooling-off period after leaving state government before taking such a job.

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