Beverly Enterprises Nursing Home Chain Pleads No Contest to Charges of Neglect
Beverly Enterprises Inc., the nation's largest nursing home chain, yesterday pleaded no contest to charges of felony elder abuse that led to two patients' deaths at a facility in Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to make "wide-ranging" quality-of-care improvements at its 60 nursing homes in California and to pay $2 million in civil penalties and reimburse the state government $500,000 in investigative costs (Garrison, Los Angeles Times, 8/2). The state attorney general began to investigate Beverly after a 102-year-old woman died at the Beverly La Cumbre nursing home in Santa Barbara in August 2000 from "severe neglect" that led to gangrene and bedsores infested with maggots. Shortly thereafter, an 86-year-old man died at the same home after employees improperly inserted a feeding tube in his abdomen, which then became "severely swollen" (Wilborn, AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/2). The attorney general's investigation revealed other cases of neglect at Beverly's state facilities, including patients with "major bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, poor personal hygiene and improper medication." Under the terms of the settlement, Beverly will pay $6,000 per violation and will be barred from participating in Medicare and Medi-Cal if it does not institute reforms. Beverly Executive Vice President Dave Devereaux said that the company has "redesigned [its] organization and put more resources" into nursing home operations. The company agreed to "treat patients with respect and dignity" and to increase staff training to prevent neglect, bedsores and accidents. In addition, Beverly will hire more employees and deliver annual quality control reports to the attorney general's office (Los Angeles Times, 8/2).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.