ALAMEDA COUNTY: Investigators Probe Nursing Home Deaths
California health officials began investigations Friday into an "unusual" number of deaths at two local nursing homes. Representatives of Local 250 of the Service Employees International Union notified authorities of the deaths after last month's two-day labor dispute and lockout. According to union officials, five patients died at the SunBridge Care Center of Pleasant Hill and another four at Fremont's SunBridge Care and Rehabilitation Center beginning Nov. 15 -- the same time as the strike. Union spokesperson Paul Kumar said, "We cannot say these fatalities are the immediate result of the lockout," but noted that the number of deaths is "shockingly high" among "individuals who were not presumed to be in the terminal stages of their lives." Spokesperson for the Albuquerque-based SunBridge Healthcare Corp. Karen Gilliland said the company is "confident that the quality of care we have given has been appropriate. We feel we've done a good job." Department of Health Services District Manager Gil Martinez said he expects the probe to conclude by midweek (AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.