What do the following four incidents all have in common?
· A CNA at a nursing home was charged with raping a mentally ill patient.
· An elderly resident developed a gruesome bedsore.
· A schizophrenic patient with one leg was discharged from a facility and found several weeks later, in a park, under his wheelchair, unconscious.
· A 59-year-old male resident with mental illness was left unsupervised on a patio for smoking and fell while trying to pick up discarded cigarette butts.
It turns out that all four incidents occurred in facilities owned by a single nursing home chain called ReNew Health Group based in Monrovia, California. LAist, part of Southern California Public Radio, recently completed an investigation into ReNew Health Group and discovered a pattern of troubling mismanagement. The number of health and safety violations at ReNew Health Group facilities is staggering:
· To date, nearly 200 people in ReNew’s 26 nursing homes have died from COVID-19, and more than 1,300 have been infected.
· Between February 2017 and February 2020, regulators documented 128 violations at ReNew nursing homes, including 14 categorized as “immediate jeopardy,” which situation the government deems will likely result in resident death, harm, injury, or impairment.
More needs to be done to address the issue of death and neglect inside nursing homes.
Despite the chain’s poor track record, the company’s CEO, Crystal Solorzano, took over nine nursing homes in 2019 even though her licenses were denied by the State of California Department of Public Health. How is that possible?! According to LAist, “In California, a nursing home operator can take over a facility first, and then apply for a license through the California Department of Public Health. State health officials say that during this process, a valid license does exist – that of the previous owner. Patient advocates call this practice “squatting” and want to ban the use of “borrowing” licenses.”
What can be done to address the issue of Death and Neglect inside Nursing Home Chains?
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) is working to overturn this practice and support a new bill introduced in February by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi of Torrance, AB 1502. That bill would prohibit the loophole exploited by ReNew and other sub-standard nursing home operators, who can manage nursing homes though they are deemed unfit to do so by the State Department of Public Health.
Muratsuchi’s bill deserves everyone’s support. He asserts, “For these bad actors to be able to continue to operate without a license, and with a record of past abuses is simply not acceptable. The current system is broken. And we need to fix it.”
Predictably, Crystal Solorzano declined to comment to the LAist investigators reporting on her nursing home chain’s abysmal track record.
Attorney Wendy York of York Law Firm specializes in prosecuting elder abuse, nursing home abuse and wrongful death cases in California. If you or a loved one has experienced death and neglect inside nursing homes we can help. For further information, please contact Wendy York today.