CALIFORNIA NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT – State officials from the California Department of Public Heath today cited Casa Bonita Convalescent Hospital located in Los Angeles County with three separate citations after their investigation concluded that grossly substandard are led to a resident’s death. Officials issued the nursing home the three citations which carried fines totaling $121,000.
Following an investigation of reported neglect, it was determined that the nursing home resident was dependent on a ventilator for breathing assistance and died when the ventilator disconnected which went unnoticed for a long period of time. Although it is not believed that the ventilator was intentionally disconnected, nursing home staff were nonetheless not alerted when the disconnection occurred because the ventilator’s remote alarm had been purposefully turned off by nursing home staff.
Casa Bonita received the state’s most severe nursing home citation permitted under law, a “AA” citation along with a $100,000 fine. The citation was issued because the facility failed to have a system in place to; (1) prevent the resident from becoming disconnected from a ventilator and, (2) failed to ensure the remote alarm was engaged to alert staff in the ventilator disconnected or failed to work properly. In addition, another “A” citation and $20,000 was issued to Casa Bonita as well because the facility failed to follow the plan of care by checking the frequency alarms and monitoring the remote alarm on the ventilator.
Aside from receiving the state’s two most severe citations, the “AA” citation and the “A” citation, Casa Bonita was also issued a third “B” citation and a $1,000 fine for failing to implement staff development policies for the sub-acute unit regarding new employee orientation, completing employee orientation checklists and ventilator education and certification.
To ensure that resident’s receive a high quality of care, all Californian nursing home facilities are required to be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing health care. Serving as an enforcement remedy to deter poor care by state nursing home facilities, California has the statutory authority to impose fines against facilities who are not compliant with federal and state laws. The “AA” citation process is part of California Department of Public Health’s ongoing enforcement efforts to improve the quality of care provided to residents of the state’s approximately 1,400 nursing home facilities.
California has three categories of nursing home citations that require civil monetary penalties. For Class B citations, associated fines range from $100 to $1,000. A Class A citation carries a fine range of $2,000 to $20,000 and A Class AA citation carries a fine range of $25,000 to $100,000. The state’s goal in implementing this citation system is to provide licensed nursing home facilities with consequences for substantial violations of the law in order to protect the health and safety of nursing home facility residents.
Notwithstanding the enforcement efforts that are undertaken by state officials as a means to protect the health and safety of our nursing home facility residents, substandard care is a common problem that continues. Many residents that live in nursing home facilities fail to receive the care, dignity, and respect they require and deserve. For those with family members who live in nursing homes, there is no better indicator of a resident’s quality of life than from first hand observation. To ensure their well being, it is important to regularly visit and advocate on their behalf.
If you notice that a loved one is not being treated with the care, dignity, or respect that they are entitled to as a matter of law, it is important to retain the legal services of an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in the area of elder abuse and neglect. The attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP, have also obtained some of the most successful and largest reported settlements in this specific area of the law.
At Berman & Riedel, LLP, we can offer the experience and skill necessary to provide you or your loved one with sound advice on how to protect you or your loved one’s legal rights. If you experience a situation that leads you to believe that acts of abuse or neglect has been committed, fell free to contact an elder abuse and neglect attorney at Berman & Riedel, LLP, to discuss your legal options. Berman & Riedel, LLP, is a prominant nursing home litigation firm that focuses its practice in handling elder abuse and neglect cases throughout the State of California, including matters arising from the mistreatment of nursing home residents and other care facilities for the elderly.