An increasing number of assisted living, memory care homes, hospices, nursing homes, and elderly living facilities across the country are under investigation for health and safety violations. Oftentimes there is a direct correlation between a facility’s number of health code and fire safety violations and reports of neglect, sexual and physicial abuse, unsafe living conditions, and fire code violations. Unfortunately, the state of California is not an exception to this national epidemic.
A Glimpse Into Just One of the Dangers Present in Care Homes: Wandering
In the summer of 2015, the owner of a large number of California nursing homes received his 15 minutes of fame when the Sacramento Bee highlighted the problems in his facilities. The most startling incident reported by the Bee reported that a resident left the facility on foot, later lighting herself on fire at a gas station down the street. She died 24 hours later from the severe burns sustained in the incident. Since the owner owns 81 nursing homes in the state and controls one out of 14 nursing home beds, the deficiencies that made the news are significant.
According to Molly Davis, administrator of the Los Angeles Ombudsman program, “We have seen patterns of poor care, patterns of substandard care in some of these facilities.” She reported that her staff has witnessed a “flagrant disregard for human life” in some of the targeted nursing homes.
If you or a loved one has witnessed or been the victim of negligence or mistreatment at a California care home, contact a nursing home abuse attorney to see if you might have a valid lawsuit claim.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star Rating
CMS has a star rating system for nursing homes based on a number of factors. Some of those factors include:
- How they perform in home inspections.
- The quality of the nursing staff.
- How much time the nursing staff spends with each patient.
- Quality exhibited when 11 criteria concerning how they meet the clinical and physical needs of their patients.
In 2015, California nursing homes received an overall star rating of 3.6 and were ranked 8th when compared to all other states. Even so, 43 percent of all homes received a 3 star or less rating.
Families for Better Care: Ratings
Families for Better Care (FBC) is a non-profit advocacy group that generates ratings for nursing homes. CMS gives a rating based on the number of mistakes and errors that were reported at nursing home facilities. Then FBC compares California’s performance to other states in the United States. FBC gives every state a letter grade between “A” and “F”, ranking them by how they compare to other states.
California received a “B” in 2015, the most recent year that FBC reported, ranking the sunshine state 12th overall. This was a substantial improvement over 2013 when California received a “C” overall and ranked 28th. FBC’s 2014 grade for professional nursing staff was still a “D,” the same grade they received in 2013. Additionally, California’s percentage of serious deficiencies increased in 2014 over 2013. In fact, nearly 95% of all nursing homes in California received deficiency notices from CMS.
Specific Problems in California Nursing Homes Found by CMS
Each year CMS inspects each and every nursing home and reports data to make its findings public. CMS then puts together a chart so that searchers can easily compare and find information regarding the last three inspections. In March 2016, a report compiling statistics for the previous three years noted these problems with California nursing homes:
- Out of 1202 nursing homes, 39,476 deficiencies were issued. A deficiency means the home has violated a state of federal law.
- Of all deficiencies, 170 were considered serious. A serious deficiency is one that places a resident in immediate danger of serious injury or death due to abuse or neglect.
- 209 fines were issued with an average fine of about $25,000.
- Payment was suspended in 118 cases. Payment is suspended when a facility has failed to correct a deficiency within the time allotted.
Who is in Charge of Regulating and Licensing California Nursing Homes?
The California Department of Public Health, Department of Certifications and Licensing is in charge of regulating California nursing homes. The Department issues “AA” citations to nursing homes when a violation has been so severe it has resulted in the death of a resident in a long-term facility. A hefty fine is imposed for the first violation. If there is a second AA violation within 24 months, the agency will begin the process of either revoking or suspending the nursing home license. The state publishes a list of all nursing homes that have ever received an AA citation.
Who Can Help Me With a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of mistreatment or neglect at a care facility, we urge you to contact a California nursing home abuse attorney immediately. Hold the negligent party responsible and restore the dignity of your loved one by taking the first step. Call Baron & Budd today at 866-612-0246 to schedule a case review and see if you have a valid lawsuit claim.
California Nursing Homes on the Watch List
Bakersfield Healthcare Center
730 34th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
8336 Fair Oaks Boulevard
Carmichael, CA 95608
Department of State Hospitals
11401 South Bloomfield Ave
Norwalk, CA 90650
Riverside Healthcare Center
8781 Lakeview Avenue
Riverside, CA 92509
San Pablo Healthcare and Wellness Center
13328 San Pablo Avenue
San Pablo, CA 94806
Shasta View Nursing Center
445 Park Street
Weed, CA 96094