ELDER ABUSE: Nursing Home Chain Pleads No Contest, Will Shut Two Facilities
Guardian Health Group Inc., a Northern California nursing home chain, agreed last week to close or sell two Santa Clara facilities and place 16 others under federal observation after pleading no contest to felony charges of patient abuse, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "It's rare in criminal law that we see something work this effectively. I'm sure the entire nursing home industry is watching this case," Deputy District Attorney Radny Hey said. Prosecutors charged the company with six counts of elder abuse and neglect, the result of an investigation that began when doctors at a nearby hospital found maggots crawling on a Guardian patient's feeding tube. In addition to the closings, the company will pay the state a $120,000 fine and compensate eight victims and their families. Robert Peirce, Guardian president and CEO, said the firm is "relieved" to conclude the matter. "This closes a difficult chapter in our otherwise proud company history," he said (Lynem/Squatriglia, 5/25). Based on information from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, Guardian is the largest corporate chain of nursing homes to be prosecuted for elder abuse (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/25).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.