Nursing Home Chain Agrees To Settle Negligence Suit
Pleasant Care, the state's second-largest nursing home chain, on Wednesday agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle civil allegations that it provided negligent care to patients, including two who died, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 3/9).
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) filed the suit after Pleasant Care was cited and fined by state health officials more than 160 times for regulatory violations over the past five years (AP/Contra Costa Times, 3/9). The state accused Pleasant Care of a "pattern of poor quality of care that we found permeated their operations statewide."
Pleasant Care operates 30 nursing homes in the state (Los Angeles Times, 3/9).
Under the settlement, Pleasant Care is required to hire a government-appointed independent monitor, improve staff training and increase the number of nurses per patient (AP/Contra Costa Times, 3/9). The settlement also establishes whistle-blower protections for staff and requires prompt investigations of alleged abuse (Los Angeles Times, 3/9).
Failure to comply with the settlement could result in a $6,000 fine for each violation and the possible loss of eligibility to participate in Medicare and Medi-Cal (AP/Contra Costa Times, 3/9).
Also on Wednesday, a state panel approved an audit to examine whether state health officials promptly investigate complaints of mistreatment at nursing homes (Los Angeles Times, 3/9).
Pleasant Care on Thursday pleaded no contest to five counts of elder abuse and one count of violating state patient-care regulations in a separate case filed by the attorney general's office in Napa County Superior Court, the Sacramento Bee reports (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 3/10).
Nathan Barankin, a spokesperson for the attorney general's office, said the company was fined $12,500 in the case, the maximum under state law (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/10).