Suit Alleges Elder Abuse, Fraud at Nursing Homes
A lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court on Thursday alleges that understaffing in 13 Southern California nursing homes operated by Tennessee-based Life Care Centers of America has led to frequent violations of Department of Health Services rules intended to protect patients' rights and ensure quality care, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The suit alleges that Life Care committed elder abuse and fraud by failing to adequately staff the nursing homes. It also cites the number of "notices of deficiencies" each nursing home has received from DHS for substandard care.
Attorney Stephen Garcia, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of thousands of state residents who resided in the nursing homes from 2003 through 2007, said he hopes the court will name an independent monitor to oversee the Life Care's Southern California operations. Garcia said DHS does not inspect nursing homes as frequently as it should because the agency is understaffed (Covarrubias, Los Angeles Times, 3/17).