BURLINGAME: Nursing Home Fined for Heat-Related Deaths
The state Department of Health Services Friday fined a Burlingame nursing home $141,000 for failing to protect residents from a "stifling" heat wave last month that contributed to the death of two patients, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The SunBridge Care and Rehabilitation Burlingame facility received 12 citations for failing to cool the facility, which officials said was "hotter inside than outside," where temperatures reached 108 degrees. The facility lacked a central air conditioning system and county officials said that the building staff was not prepared for a heat wave. Although nursing homes are not required to install air conditioners, federal law mandates "safe and comfortable temperatures." State investigators reported that the only fans available were pointed towards nurses rather than residents. DHS spokesperson Ken August said, "This was a very serious case. Fines of this magnitude do not happen very often." In a written statement issued Friday, SunBridge said that it has developed a "comprehensive plan [that] requires ... temperatures be monitored at all nursing stations in the building." The company said that it also added portable air conditioning units for dining rooms and common areas. The skilled nursing facility has until Aug. 7 to correct the problems (Enge, 7/30).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.